Thursday, November 26, 2009

Alex Gonzalez Signs with Toronto



Shortstop Alex Gonzalez will be taking his slick defense up north next summer.

Gonzalez, 32, signed a one-year, $2.75 million contract with the Blue Jays on Thursday.

The contract includes a $2.5 million option for 2011.

The deal comes just one day after the club re-signed utility man John McDonald to a two-year contract, leading to speculation that he would be the club’s starting shortstop.

With both Gonzalez and McDonald under contract, this should officially spell the end of Marco Scutaro’s time with the Blue Jays.

Scutaro was high on many club’s wish lists this offseason, including Gonzalez’s most recent employer, the Boston Red Sox.

The Blue Jays still figure to offer Scutaro arbitration to obtain draft picks for the Type A free agent.

Gonzalez became a free agent when Boston declined his $6 million option for 2010.

The club was rumored to be interested in re-signing the shortstop to a one-year deal at roughly half the cost.

It appears as though Boston wasted too much time poking around the free agent and trade markets and was beaten to the punch by new Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos.

Gonzalez, split last season between the Cincinnati Reds and the aforementioned Red Sox, playing his usual Gold Glove-caliber defense with both clubs.

On the whole, Gonzalez hit .238/.279/.355 with eight home runs last season. He hit much better after coming to Boston in an August trade with Cincinnati.

Gonzalez has been hampered by persistent knee problems in recent years, but he appeared in 112 games last season, his highest total since 2005.

Gonzalez was an All-Star in 1999 and a World Series winner in 2003.

Overall he is a career .247/.294/.395 hitter with 114 home runs and 521 RBI in 1,229 games.

The move saves Toronto the cash it would have cost to lock up Scutaro, essentially earns the club compensation picks when Scutaro signs elsewhere, shores up the club’s middle-infield defense, and offers Gonzalez a sense of security for the next two seasons.

All-in-all the deal is a major win-win for all parties involved.

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