Adrian Gonzalez Unlikely to Be Healthy in Time for Start of Spring Training
Gonzalez told XX 1090 AM that even though he is beginning his rehab from shoulder surgery this week, it might be "four or five months" before he's able to swing a bat. If that timetable holds, most of spring training will have passed before Gonzalez is able to start tuning up his swing for the season. The Padres open the regular season March 31.
And even if he makes it back at the front end of that projection, it appears likely he won't have the benefit of an entire spring to prepare for his final season before hitting the open market as a free agent.
His agent, John Boggs, tried to downplay the doom-and-gloom prognosis to MLB.com, saying Gonzalez is simply determined not to push too hard to return to the field.
"I think what Adrian is saying it that he's going to be very cautious and take it a step at a time," Boggs said. "He's the type of player who can pick up a bat and be ready in a week.
"But what he's saying is he's going to take his time and make sure [his shoulder is] ready. The timeline has always been four months. He'll be ready ... but he's not going to burst out of the gates if he's not."
Gonzalez is under contract for $6.2 million next season -- still quite a bargain for the Padres. Still, given his impending free agency, there's a good possibility he won't be in a San Diego uniform after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, for even as a two-month rental player he should be able to bring a haul of prospects to the Padres in a trade.
And the Padres have no reason not to trade him if they're not in prime playoff position, as all parties involved have acknowledged he isn't likely to return. Gonzalez himself emphasized that in his radio interview when he discussed why he isn't inclined to give the Padres a hometown discount on a long-term deal.
"In essence, if I take what you call a 'San Diego discount,' then I'm affecting their market. I'm affecting what they are going to make. It's a lot like real estate," Gonzalez said. "That's the reason why. The way the game of baseball is set up, we have to protect each other. We have to do what's best for each other."