2013 Dodgers in Review #5: 1B Adrian Gonzalez

90topps_adriangonzalez.293/.342/.461 641pa 22hr .346 wOBA 2.8 fWAR B

2013 in brief: Put up more or less the exact season we thought he would as one of the more steady and reliable Dodger hitters.

2014 status: He’s still owed $106 million over the next five seasons, so he’s not going anywhere.

Previous: 2012

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In 36 games as a Dodger in 2012 following the big trade, Adrian Gonzalez hit .297/.344/.441. In 157 games this year, he hit .293/.342/.461, so that’s what he is these days, and how you view that depends on your perception. On one hand, those who claimed that he’d never again be the superstar he was in San Diego were totally right. He’s not. His .346 wOBA, identical to what it was in 2012, is the worst full-season mark of his career.

But then on the other hand, you’re not really comparing him to 2006-11 Gonzalez, or at least you shouldn’t be. You’re comparing him to the first basemen the Dodgers had before he arrived, and the alternatives available to the team presently if you didn’t have him at all. In that light, he looks a lot better, or if I can skip ahead to the one-year trade review we did in August:

The whole point of the trade for the Dodgers was to get Gonzalez, of course, and he’s been worth it, though it depends on how you look at it. On one hand, his .346 wOBA is the same as it was last year, each of which is tied for the worst of his career. On the other hand, the last Dodger first baseman to have a more valuable season than he is was Eric Karros, way back in 1999, and he was one of the few productive Dodgers over the first two months of the season. He is, according to WAR, the seventh most productive first baseman in baseball this year, and I can’t really complain about that — especially when Joey Votto & Prince Fielder make well over $200m and the alternatives were…. who, exactly?

He ended up as the #9 first baseman, but still — I can’t complain about a top-ten spot at the position, especially when you remember just how crucial having him stay healthy all year was with the turmoil around him.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, aren’t we? Over the first month of the season, as everything was falling apart, Gonzalez was hitting 333/.398/.473. And then, and I apologize for this long quoted section but it’s too funny not to, he spent a week in May like this:

On May 1, he hit his third homer of the year, a shot off Colorado’s Juan Nicasio. How’s his month gone since then?

Wednesday, 5/1: Following his homer, Gonzalez tried to snag a double down the line and, well, this happened:

Thursday: team day off

Fridayin starting lineup, scratched before game time. Jerry Hairston played first.

Saturdayin starting lineup, scratched before game time. Hairston played first.

Sundayin starting lineup, scratched before game time. Juan Uribe (!) played first. Gonzalez pinch-hit, driving in two with a single, in the eighth inning.

Monday: plays a full game against Arizona, going 2-4. He also treated us to some famous last words:

per Dylan Hernandez — “Gonzalez plans to play through the pain of his mild strain, skipping batting practice so he doesn’t aggravate it.”He’s actually actively saying he hopes he doesn’t have to dive for a ball. A ballplayer pushing through pain? Such a thing has never ended poorly, ever.

He hopes he doesn’t have to dive for a ball? I’m sure that won’t be relevant information.

Tuesday: plays a full game against Arizona, going 1-4.

Wednesday: starts, and doubles in two plate appearances before leaving in the fifth inning… after diving for a ball

But he survived, and kept on hitting, putting up a .324/.376/.503 line through the end of May, including a game on May 25 when he got on base five times and drove in three. He, like most everyone else, slumped in June (.248/.304/.400), and for the rest of the season settled into a solid contributor role while letting Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig provide the fireworks. (With some exceptions, like on June 23, when he and Ramirez went back-to-back off Huston Street, and July 23, when he destroyed a ball in Toronto to help in a ridiculous comeback.)

Gonzalez did manage to turn around his continually declining walk rate, though a 7.3 BB% is still better than only 2012 in his career, and his K% was the lowest of his career, which is good, and once again showed little platoon split, which is a must on a team with Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford. He also confoundingly had the most errors of his career while still ranking as above average in most of the metrics, so take that for what you will.

Gonzalez doesn’t turn 32 until next May, so he’s still got a few more prime years left in him. I can’t say I ever expect to see the man who crushed the league when he was a Padre, but if you’re expecting that, you’re way off. This is the best first baseman the Dodgers have had in decades, and he’s still an above-average first baseman as compared to the league. I’ll take that, and I think we’d all prefer to be on the hook for 5/$106m than the 7/$168m Fielder is owed.

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Next! I feel like we’ve already talked about Mark Ellis!

407 comments
RandyRosales
RandyRosales

Top ten & 32yrs I'll buy that look for him & PUIG? ????

DBrim
DBrim moderator

Damn, I got Grohl, too.

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

Has somebody posted the Ryu video yet? 

o0b00tz0o
o0b00tz0o

Was that $300 million dollar offer confirmed or just rumor?

BIah
BIah

@DavidBecerra thanks for the reminder

*sheepishly opens up Microsoft Word to start on his paper*

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

@b00tz If somebody offers you 300 million dollars for anything, the answer is always "yes, where do I sign?"

capnsparrow
capnsparrow

@b00tz I think it was the same offer Ned made to Fielder a couple years back

steelmohawk
steelmohawk

The next few frames of this is TheFalconer, coming in with his hawk.

BIah
BIah

@EephusBlue Dexter, George Takei, and Batman?  I guess that's all right

Lobo
Lobo

@EephusBlue Best combo: Born on December 10 and wearing a Yellow shirt

steelmohawk
steelmohawk

WW, Batman, and Bruce Willis.  First thing I would do, feed BW to a zombie.

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

I got me Spock. He gonna think us out of this mess

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

Why the fuck is Superman purple?

Lobo
Lobo

@EephusBlue Worst possible combination: Born on May 30 and wearing a multi-color checkered shirt

efb
efb

@EephusBlue I have the best team: Walter White, Spock and Jon Stewart!

Lobo
Lobo

@EephusBlue Fuck yeah I get Iron Man, George Calin, and Walter White

DavidGriffBecerra
DavidGriffBecerra

Daylight savings time. It's like jet lag right? Need time to adjust

Lobo
Lobo

@BIah @EephusBlue I would think Batman's first course of action would be to dispense JUSTICE upon Dexter

Lobo
Lobo

@ABSmileBunch @EephusBlue For your sake I hope it's James Earl Jones and not Hayden Christiansen.  Otherwise, I would recommend you just go ahead and feed yourself to the zombies

steelmohawk
steelmohawk

Me being 5'10", i would be the tallest one in my group.  And i fucking hate bruce willis and his movies.

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

@steelmohawk thats just silly. Bruce Willis is super human. U would end up with a zombie that can't be killed

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

@Lobo @Paul_from_grace @efb man, watching this is reminding me of what a fun year it was. It must have been so crazy for him. Get off an airplane from Korea and land in the middle of a pennant race with 30 guys he's never met. Watch Kershaw's start on opening day and be like, "shit... tough act to follow." 

Paulstralia
Paulstralia

@efb @Paul_from_grace aw. it's pretty cool. they tour his apartment and dodger stadium. when he goes by Kershaw's locker he's like, "this is the team ace." 

EephusBlue
EephusBlue moderator

@Lobo @BIah @EephusBlue If it were the Punisher then THAT would be some turmoil. Both Dexter and Frank Castle would be at each other's throats compulsively. 

ABSmileBunch
ABSmileBunch

@EephusBlue @ABSmileBunch Technically not so bad: Tyrion Lannister (for planning), Snoop Dog (for weed), and Darth Vader (for killing everything from a distance)...I thought I made out OK.