Adrian Gonzalez (born May 8, 1982, in San Diego, California) is a Mexican American professional baseball first baseman with the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball. He was the first overall pick in the 2000 Major League Baseball Draft by the Florida Marlins. He was traded to the Texas Rangers and later to the San Diego Padres, where he was an All-Star selection three times and Gold Glove winner twice. The four-time Padres team Most Valuable Player (MVP) was traded to the Red Sox before entering the final year of his contract.

He played for Mexico in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Professional careerEdit

Florida Marlins organization (2000–2003)Edit

In June, 2000, Gonzalez became the first infield position player to be drafted first overall since Alex Rodriguez in 1993. He was drafted out of Eastlake High School and given a $3 million signing bonus by the Florida Marlins. [1] While in the Marlins organization, Gonzalez played with the Gulf Coast League Marlins, Utica Blue Sox, Portland Sea Dogs (2002), Albuquerque Isotopes (2003), and Carolina Mudcats (2003). With the A level Kane County Cougars in his 2nd professional season, Gonzalez hit .312 with 17 home runs and 103 RBI's in 127 games.

Texas Rangers (2004–2005)Edit

After a wrist injury, the Marlins felt Gonzalez would be hindered swinging the bat, so he was subsequently traded to the Texas Rangers with Ryan Snare and minor leaguer Will Smith in a deal for Ugueth Urbina in June 2003. He played in 16 games for Texas in Template:Mlby and in 43 games in Template:Mlby.

After the season, Gonzalez was traded to the San Diego Padres along with pitcher Chris Young and outfielder Terrmel Sledge. In return, the Rangers received Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka. Originally seen as an eventual replacement for Ryan Klesko at first base, Gonzalez was given the job when Klesko underwent shoulder surgery.

San Diego Padres (2006–2010)Edit

File:Adrian Gonzalez 01.jpg

With extended playing time at first base in Template:Mlby, Gonzalez continued to improve his hitting and defense. On July 23, 2006, he was named the NL Player of the Week.[2] In his first full season, he led the Padres in batting average (.304) and home runs (24). He was the first player in Petco Park history to have more than one multiple home run game. He was named the Padres' MVP for 2006.[3]

On March 31, Template:Mlby, Gonzalez agreed to a $9.5 million, four-year deal, with a club option for $5.5 million in 2011.[4] In the 2007 season, he led the Padres in home runs again, with 30, and had a team-high 100 RBIs. He led all Major League first basemen with 161 games and a career-high 46 doubles.[3]

In the Template:Mlby season, Gonzalez finished with a .279 average and once again led the Padres with 36 HRs and 119 RBIs. He was elected to the 2008 MLB All-Star Game as a reserve. He went 1 for 3 with a single and a sacrifice fly, scoring Miguel Tejada of the Houston Astros. He won his first Gold Glove Award in 2008 at first base. Gonzalez set career highs in games played (162), home runs (36), RBI (119), runs scored (103), walks (74) and slugging percentage (.510). He was named the Padres MVP for the second time.[3]

Gonzalez played winter ball in the Mexican Pacific League for the Venados de Mazatlán. In the 2009 Caribbean Series, he led his team past the Dominican Republic's Tigres del Licey with a record-setting 3 home runs on February 4.[5]

Gonzalez started off hot in Template:Mlby, hitting 23 homers and leading the Major League Baseball in that category at the end of May. This despite playing his home games at Petco Park, which Padres statisticians describe as an “extreme pitcher's park.”[6] On May 18, Gonzalez was described as being one of the two most underrated players in the National League according to a poll of Major League executives and managers conducted by[6] On April 1, Gonzalez was named the NL Co-Player of the Week for the second time in his career. During that week, Gonzalez hit four home runs, tallied 10 RBIs, and had a 1.000 slugging percentage.[7] Gonzalez was elected to the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game after voting by fellow players, managers and coaches.[8] He subsequently participated in that year's Home Run Derby where he hit two home runs in the first round. On August 1, Gonzalez finished 6-for-6 with three RBI as the Padres topped the Milwaukee Brewers 13–6. Gonzalez's six hits are the most by any Padre in a nine-inning game. Three others have accomplished the feat, but did it in extra-inning contests. Gonzalez hit five singles and a double.

He led the majors in walks in 2009, with 119,[9] while hitting 40 home runs for the first time in his career. He was named the Padres team MVP for 2009, his third time honored.[3]

Gonzalez started the 2010 season playing well. On May 24, he was named the NL Player of the Week for the fourth time in his career.[10] On June 2, Gonzalez hit a walk-off grand slam in extra innings to lead his team toward a 5–1 victory over the New York Mets.[11] In July, Gonzalez was elected to participate in his third consecutive All-Star game.

During the 2010 season, Gonzalez had 176 hits in 591 at bats, good for a .298 batting average, his highest since hitting .304 in his rookie season (2006). He had 93 walks and 114 strikeouts. His 93 walks put him in third place in the NL behind only Prince Fielder (114) and Albert Pujols (103). He finished with 31 home runs and 101 RBI, the third time in his career he had 100 RBI or more. Gonzalez played in 160 games on the year, tying him with Rickie Weeks for 5th in the NL. He scored 87 runs on the season, compiling 302 total bases, which also tied him with Weeks, for 6th in the NL. Gonzalez was named team MVP for the third consecutive year and the fourth time overall with the Padres.[12]

Gonzalez would have been in the last year of his contract in 2011, but the Padres were not going to meet Gonzalez’s open market value especially with Jeff Moorad’s purchase of the Padres from John Moores not completing until around 2013.[13]

Boston Red SoxEdit

On December 6, 2010, Gonzalez was traded to the Boston Red Sox for a package of right-handed pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, outfielder Reymond Fuentes, and a player to be named later, later determined to be Eric Patterson.[14][15]

Personal lifeEdit

The son of Mexican parents, Gonzalez lived 12 years of his youth in Mexico. His brother is former Padres teammate Edgar Gonzalez. Their father was a member of the Mexican national baseball team.[16]

Gonzalez and his wife Betsy, reside in San Diego.[17] The couple created The Adrian and Betsy Gonzalez Foundation, which is focused on empowering underprivileged youth in areas of athletics, education and health.[18]

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