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Reds Fanatic
02-22-2007, 05:02 PM
http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070222&content_id=1811806&vkey=spt2007news&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin


SARASOTA, Fla. -- Free agent acquisition Alex Gonzalez arrived at Reds camp on Thursday. His sterling reputation for defense had already preceded him.
"He's a great player," Reds second baseman and new double-play partner Brandon Phillips said. "He's one of those shortstops you like to watch take ground balls and you can learn a lot from him."

The Reds ranked second in the Majors last season with 128 errors, had the second-lowest fielding percentage and were prone to mistakes not reflected in stat books. Improving in the field was a high offseason priority for management, which was why Gonzalez was signed to a three-year, $14 million contract in November.

Although Gonzalez has never won a Gold Glove, he is regarded by many as one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. His former team, the Red Sox, were keenly aware that their loss was the Reds' gain.

"I think Gonzo is the greatest shortstop I've ever seen, including growing up and watching Ozzie Smith," Boston starting pitcher Curt Schilling said. "I don't think there's anybody who's ever played the position better than he played it."

"The thing we're going to battle is that the guy who was here last year played maybe the best shortstop we've ever seen, maybe the best shortstop I've ever seen," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "Nobody in the league is going to do that, unless Gonzo does it again in Cincinnati. That's how good he is."

Perhaps the endorsement for Gonzalez that Reds fans would most care about comes from shortstop legend Davey Concepcion. Gonzalez grew up with Concepcion's son in Venezuela and played ball with him as a kid. Concepcion, who will come to Reds camp on March 8, told a reporter over the winter that Gonzalez is better than he was.

"It's exciting. [Concepcion is] one of the best shortstops in the world," Gonzalez said of the compliment. "For a guy to say that, you have to be proud and live up to it every day."

Gonzalez played for the Marlins from 1998-2005 and won a World Series with Florida in '03. The 30-year-old went to Boston under a one-year deal before last season. His lifetime fielding percentage is .970 and he was at .985 last season with a career-low seven errors committed in 475 total chances.

There are only four shortstops in the Majors who have committed fewer than 17 errors in at least 100 starts over the past four seasons. Gonzalez is one of them, along with Derek Jeter, David Eckstein and Jimmy Rollins.

"I'll try to help this team the best that I can with my defense and all things," Gonzalez said. "I'll try to play every day, be healthy and try to help this team."

The Reds pitching staff isn't loaded with a bunch of strikeout guys. Many of them put the ball in play and will benefit from having Gonzalez behind them.

"It should give our pitchers more confidence," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "It should give our other infielders more confidence. It should give our manager more confidence."

Last season after it acquired Phillips to play second base in an April trade with Cleveland, Cincinnati lacked stability on the left side of the infield. Offensive-minded Felipe Lopez didn't concentrate as much defensively. When Lopez was traded to Washington in July, veteran replacement Royce Clayton didn't click well with Phillips.

Poor defense can lead to extended innings, which definitely leads to opponent rallies.

"There were like four or five times last year, we had double-play balls we should have turned and we didn't, and they hit a home run after it," Narron said. "It was unreal. It seemed like 40 or 50."

Phillips has his own solid reputation as an athletic second baseman. Narron couldn't help being optimistic about the new double-play combo up the middle.

"I'm hoping [Gonzalez] and Brandon can work together extremely well," Narron said. "If they do, we'd have something special up the middle for the next three-four years. They could be as good as anybody."

Strong shortstop-second base duos aren't usually forged overnight, but Phillips believed the learning curve could be shortened during camp while working with Gonzalez.

"I think we'll make a good double-play combination, honestly," Phillips said. "We'll go out there and make the fundamental plays and maybe some spectacular plays also. It might not take as long because we're both athletic and can do some things out there. It's all about communication. If you can't communicate, things aren't going to get done. I'll try to build a friendship with him so it'll be easier."

A third excellent glove man could also be sharing the field with Gonzalez and Phillips. Narron indicated that utility player Juan Castro, also one of the slickest fielders in the game, will get some chances at third base. Castro would often likely replace regular Edwin Encarnacion late in games when the Reds need extra defense to hold leads.

The compliments have been less bountiful when Gonzalez's hitting skills are brought up. He batted .255 with nine home runs and 50 RBIs last season and is a .246 career hitter who strikes out a lot more than he walks.

"Right now, no one talks about him offensively," Narron said. "That's kind of a plus in his favor, to be honest with you. He could kind of sneak up on everybody."

Maybe, but Gonzalez knows why he was brought to Cincinnati and aims to make good on his reputation.

"If I do nothing with my bat, I'll do it with my glove," Gonzalez said. "You can win games with the glove and make a difference. That's part of my job."

BRM
02-22-2007, 05:31 PM
A third excellent glove man could also be sharing the field with Gonzalez and Phillips. Narron indicated that utility player Juan Castro, also one of the slickest fielders in the game, will get some chances at third base. Castro would often likely replace regular Edwin Encarnacion late in games when the Reds need extra defense to hold leads.

:rolleyes:


Improving in the field was a high offseason priority for management

I'll believe this one when I see Junior playing RF.

KronoRed
02-22-2007, 06:08 PM
How many extra inning games will we go into with Castro at 3rd this year? I say all of em.

StillFunkyB
02-22-2007, 06:20 PM
:rolleyes:



I'll believe this one when I see Junior playing RF.

Exactly. I think that is the whole problem with adding a guy like Gonzalez. It's not really anything to do with him, but the fact that if your going to improve your defense up the middle you have to do it in CF as well. JR in RF would be a great asset to this team. You still have his bat, and it might keep him on the field for a few more games during the year.

DO IT JUNIOR! Do it for the team, and yourself!

reds44
02-22-2007, 06:37 PM
A third excellent glove man could also be sharing the field with Gonzalez and Phillips. Narron indicated that utility player Juan Castro, also one of the slickest fielders in the game, will get some chances at third base. Castro would often likely replace regular Edwin Encarnacion late in games when the Reds need extra defense to hold leads.
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

Did we not learn from last year?????

StillFunkyB
02-22-2007, 06:47 PM
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

Did we not learn from last year?????

Don't blow a gasket yet! The season hasn't started.

I still remember in chat one time last year, when Narron put in Castro someone commented "Somewhere, reds44 just threw something at the TV!" or something like that... :D

reds44
02-22-2007, 06:49 PM
Don't blow a gasket yet! The season hasn't started.

I still remember in chat one time last year, when Narron put in Castro someone commented "Somewhere, reds44 just threw something at the TV!" or something like that... :D
:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

I need to go into chat more often. That's great.

kbrake
02-22-2007, 06:53 PM
This is why even though I think Jerry Narron is a good guy, I cant wait to see him out of Cincinnati.

OnBaseMachine
02-22-2007, 06:59 PM
The Alex Gonzalez signing will be completely pointpless if Griffey is the centerfielder this season. The signing will be OK if Griffey is moved to RF and Encarnacion is allowed to play 3B all season long. I agree with the above poster, Jerry Narron is a terrific guy but I want him let go if he starts replacing EdE late in games again this season. Encarnacion will be a gold glove 3B someday...his range is unmatched, allow him to show it off.

Patrick Bateman
02-22-2007, 07:31 PM
The Alex Gonzalez signing will be completely pointpless if Griffey is the centerfielder this season. The signing will be OK if Griffey is moved to RF and Encarnacion is allowed to play 3B all season long. I agree with the above poster, Jerry Narron is a terrific guy but I want him let go if he starts replacing EdE late in games again this season. Encarnacion will be a gold glove 3B someday...his range is unmatched, allow him to show it off.

Well let's face it, the Gonzo signing will be the same regardless where Griffey plays in the field.

However, it shows that the team is still not willing to put the best defensive team on the field possible, even though it was originally meant to be reflected through the Gonzo signing.

If Griffey is moved to RF, it shows Krivsky's desire to put the best defensive team on the field.

GAC
02-22-2007, 07:32 PM
The Reds ranked second in the Majors last season with 128 errors, had the second-lowest fielding percentage and were prone to mistakes not reflected in stat books.

Will Gonzo at SS, Brandon at 2B, and a maturer EE at 3B, help to improve that? I think it will. Castro as a late inning replacement, when we have the lead, just to be getting some playing time here and there, doesn't bother me a bit. He's not going to be a starter.

Eric_Davis
02-22-2007, 08:37 PM
That was nice to hear about Gonzalez.

kbrake
02-22-2007, 09:07 PM
Will Gonzo at SS, Brandon at 2B, and a maturer EE at 3B, help to improve that? I think it will. Castro as a late inning replacement, when we have the lead, just to be getting some playing time here and there, doesn't bother me a bit. He's not going to be a starter.

Juan Castro doesnt have to be a starter to wreak havoc on a team. He will get into close games late and as I have said before even when the defense is solid the bullpen will blow leads. Then late in key situations we will be sending Juan Castro to the plate in place of Edwin, it doesnt make sense. One more point, how is Edwin ever suppose to mature if he doesnt play in pressure situations? Castro being a late inning replacement wont put the Reds over the top in 2007, but it could slow the development of a player who could help put them over the top soon.

redsfan30
02-22-2007, 10:13 PM
The Alex Gonzalez signing will be completely pointpless if Griffey is the centerfielder this season.
I don't understand this statement at all.

kbrake
02-22-2007, 10:15 PM
I don't understand this statement at all.

I'm pretty sure that his point is you cant justify spending 14 million on Gonzalez, claiming you want to put the best defensive team possible on the field. Then turn around and leave Junior Griffey in CF. Not trying to speak for OBM but I think thats his point, and if it is I think he has a valid one.

edabbs44
02-22-2007, 10:19 PM
Where did this Gonzalez lovefest come from? Schilling thinks he's the best SS he's ever seen?

I agree with the above. Whenever Griffey finished his assessment and decides whether he should or shouldn't move out of CF, if he remains then this signing was absolute bunk and a waste of $14 million.

redsfan30
02-22-2007, 10:21 PM
I'm pretty sure that his point is you cant justify spending 14 million on Gonzalez, claiming you want to put the best defensive team possible on the field. Then turn around and leave Junior Griffey in CF. Not trying to speak for OBM but I think thats his point, and if it is I think he has a valid one.

You're probably right, but I disagree. You upgrade wherever you can, whenever you can. Nobody in their right mind could argue that Alex Gonzalez is not a huge defensive upgrade over anybody they've put out there in a number of years.

I think most people (maybe justifiably so) are just assuming that Junior will be the centerfielder on April 2. Even if he is, you don't just fold up shop because one thing occurs. That's what would keep this team in one of its worst stretches in franchise history.

OnBaseMachine
02-22-2007, 10:30 PM
I'm pretty sure that his point is you cant justify spending 14 million on Gonzalez, claiming you want to put the best defensive team possible on the field. Then turn around and leave Junior Griffey in CF. Not trying to speak for OBM but I think thats his point, and if it is I think he has a valid one.

You read my mind.

kbrake
02-22-2007, 10:30 PM
You're probably right, but I disagree. You upgrade wherever you can, whenever you can. Nobody in their right mind could argue that Alex Gonzalez is not a huge defensive upgrade over anybody they've put out there in a number of years.

I think most people (maybe justifiably so) are just assuming that Junior will be the centerfielder on April 2. Even if he is, you don't just fold up shop because one thing occurs. That's what would keep this team in one of its worst stretches in franchise history.

I understand your point and think its valid. My only arguement would be that after trading Kearns and Lopez (not bringing up "The Trade" for any reason other to point out offense lost) the Reds should have been looking for some offense this offseason.

We saw the way the team struggled to score down the stretch and you can point out Dunn's struggles as a key but you also have to look at the fact that reality set in for Ross and Phillips and without Aurilia the need for offense is that much greater. With that being said the Reds are going with a weak hitting SS and their reason was "we want to improve the defense as much as possible from last season." well thats fine and good but they are liars if Junior is in CF on Opening Day.

redsfan30
02-22-2007, 10:43 PM
I understand your point and think its valid. My only arguement would be that after trading Kearns and Lopez (not bringing up "The Trade" for any reason other to point out offense lost) the Reds should have been looking for some offense this offseason.

We saw the way the team struggled to score down the stretch and you can point out Dunn's struggles as a key but you also have to look at the fact that reality set in for Ross and Phillips and without Aurilia the need for offense is that much greater. With that being said the Reds are going with a weak hitting SS and their reason was "we want to improve the defense as much as possible from last season." well thats fine and good but they are liars if Junior is in CF on Opening Day.

The offense issue is certainly valid, but Krivsky wants to build around pitching and defense (that could lead to another week long discussion, but let's try not to deal with that here right now) and Gonzalez certainly fits that bill. You can't go to the bank with it, but I'd say Alex is a good pick to have a decent offensive year in Great American Ball Park. We saw what it did for Aurilia and from most accounts, Gonzalez has some pop in his bat that will only be enhanced by GABP.

Will it be disappointing if Junior opens the year in center, yes. But I don't think I can be convinced that if that happens, Gonzalez was a waste of money. As I said above, you improve wherever you can, whenever you can and Gonzalez (at least defensively) is just that...an improvement.

kbrake
02-22-2007, 10:49 PM
The offense issue is certainly valid, but Krivsky wants to build around pitching and defense (that could lead to another week long discussion, but let's try not to deal with that here right now) and Gonzalez certainly fits that bill. You can't go to the bank with it, but I'd say Alex is a good pick to have a decent offensive year in Great American Ball Park. We saw what it did for Aurilia and from most accounts, Gonzalez has some pop in his bat that will only be enhanced by GABP.

Will it be disappointing if Junior opens the year in center, yes. But I don't think I can be convinced that if that happens, Gonzalez was a waste of money. As I said above, you improve wherever you can, whenever you can and Gonzalez (at least defensively) is just that...an improvement.

Fair enough. And I dont mind Krvisky's plan for defesne and pitching except two things. You still have to have some offense and the whole point about dont talk defense to me until Griffey is standing in RF.

And I think your right that Gonzalez should put up decent numbers in GABP and it was a big help to Aurilia. Any guesses on how much Aurilia will decline this year going back to that huge park in San Fran? I'm thinking quite a bit.

redsfan30
02-22-2007, 11:04 PM
Fair enough. And I dont mind Krvisky's plan for defesne and pitching except two things. You still have to have some offense and the whole point about dont talk defense to me until Griffey is standing in RF.

And I think your right that Gonzalez should put up decent numbers in GABP and it was a big help to Aurilia. Any guesses on how much Aurilia will decline this year going back to that huge park in San Fran? I'm thinking quite a bit.

His power numbers will probably suffer, however I think he can still be effective. Pac Bell (or whatever it's called now) is a doubles and triples dream. I could see him putting up a decent slugging percentage because he could accumulate a number of bases between doubles and the occasional homerun.

Jr's Boy
02-23-2007, 02:17 AM
"It should give our pitchers more confidence," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "It should give our other infielders more confidence. It should give our manager more confidence."


Narron talking in the third person.:D

GAC
02-23-2007, 08:51 AM
"It should give our pitchers more confidence," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "It should give our other infielders more confidence. It should give our manager more confidence."


Narron talking in the third person.:D

GEORGE IS GETTIN' ANGRY! :mooner:

osuceltic
02-23-2007, 09:31 AM
Curt Schilling, Terry Francona and Davey Concepcion obviously know nothing about baseball, because I've read on here that Gonzalez isn't that great defensively. Those guys need to pay less attention to the games and bone up on zone ratings.

BRM
02-23-2007, 09:48 AM
Curt Schilling, Terry Francona and Davey Concepcion obviously know nothing about baseball, because I've read on here that Gonzalez isn't that great defensively. Those guys need to pay less attention to the games and bone up on zone ratings.

What I've read is that his lack of offense will offset what he gives the team defensively. I've also read that he's being paid way too much to be a defense-only player. I don't remember reading that he wasn't very good defensively. Someone may have said that on here somewhere (and it wouldn't surprise me if they did) but I don't recall it.

osuceltic
02-23-2007, 11:01 AM
What I've read is that his lack of offense will offset what he gives the team defensively. I've also read that he's being paid way too much to be a defense-only player. I don't remember reading that he wasn't very good defensively. Someone may have said that on here somewhere (and it wouldn't surprise me if they did) but I don't recall it.

It has been said.

redsfan30
02-23-2007, 11:24 AM
It has been said.

Yes it has.

BRM
02-23-2007, 11:29 AM
Interesting. I don't recall seeing it. Maybe I glossed over comments like that. :)

GullyFoyle
02-23-2007, 11:32 AM
I have no idea how good of defensive player Gonzalez is, but I wouldn't take what players and ex-players say at face value either.

edit: defense is one of the hardest aspects of baseball to judge...

The_jbh
02-23-2007, 11:44 AM
I think Griffey shifting to RF is contingent on Hamilton coming out smashing in Spring Training. Somewhere in Narron's and the Reds' head they think hes their CF with the skills warranting a move for Griffey, not Freel or Deno

westofyou
02-23-2007, 11:45 AM
If Josh Hamilton is the Reds starting CF this year I'll walk to Cincinnati from The coast.

redsmetz
02-23-2007, 11:46 AM
I have no idea how good of defensive player Gonzalez is, but I wouldn't take what players and ex-players say at face value either.

edit: defense is one of the hardest aspects of baseball to judge...

Curt Schilling, Terry Francona and Davey Concepcion are not a collection of schmoes. They know the game just a bit, you think?

westofyou
02-23-2007, 11:48 AM
edit: defense is one of the hardest aspects of baseball to judge...How the defense behind a pitcher effects what the pitcher does on the mound is even mentioned or examined less.

dsmith421
02-23-2007, 11:48 AM
Is this the same Alex Gonzalez whose hideous error almost single-handedly cost the Cubs the 2003 NLCS? Or is that the other one.

And I'm a moron, must have been the other one. I get them confused because ... they have the same name.

dsmith421
02-23-2007, 11:52 AM
Will it be disappointing if Junior opens the year in center, yes. But I don't think I can be convinced that if that happens, Gonzalez was a waste of money. As I said above, you improve wherever you can, whenever you can and Gonzalez (at least defensively) is just that...an improvement.

Honest question: does an upgrade from a bad SS to a good SS save more or less runs than an upgrade from a bad CF to a good CF?

I'm betting with our pitching staff, it's the latter.

So from my perspective, it is far more important to shift Griffey than to spend eight figures on a good shortstop. Especially one that demonstrably can't hit.

redsmetz
02-23-2007, 11:55 AM
Honest question: does an upgrade from a bad SS to a good SS save more or less runs than an upgrade from a bad CF to a good CF?

I'm betting with our pitching staff, it's the latter.

So from my perspective, it is far more important to shift Griffey than to spend eight figures on a good shortstop. Especially one that demonstrably can't hit.

Let's look at it this way. Is it better, if Griffey does in fact stay in center, to have a shortstop who is good or a shortstop who is bad? If he stays put, you still need a beefier defense of the middle, flyballs notwithstanding.

dsmith421
02-23-2007, 11:58 AM
Let's look at it this way. Is it better, if Griffey does in fact stay in center, to have a shortstop who is good or a shortstop who is bad? If he stays put, you still need a beefier defense of the middle, flyballs notwithstanding.

It's a hell of a lot cheaper to say, "Hey, Griff, you're in right." That's what an intelligent franchise would do, because they would see that he costs us probably 30 runs a year due to his lack of range.

I think the difference between, say, Lopez or Phillips and Gonzalez at SS is far, far less (especially when throwing their hitting production into the mix) than the production upgrade you get from moving Griffey.

Plus, Wayne would have $5M more to spend on has-beens and never-wases.

westofyou
02-23-2007, 11:58 AM
Honest question: does an upgrade from a bad SS to a good SS save more or less runs than an upgrade from a bad CF to a good CF?
They both get about 18% of the outs on the field, the SS also is involved in numerous plays coming in for the OF and when are runners on base. Despite the Reds FB slanted staff the SS is still the most important position on the field.

oneupper
02-23-2007, 12:00 PM
Is this the same Alex Gonzalez whose hideous error almost single-handedly cost the Cubs the 2003 NLCS? Or is that the other one.

Noticed there were no quotes from Cubs in that article...

Nope that's the other one. This one was on the 2003 World Champ Florida Marlins, who won that series.

Cyclone792
02-23-2007, 12:03 PM
Interesting. I don't recall seeing it. Maybe I glossed over comments like that. :)

Eh, all you did was see someone take another swipe at the statistical community, which isn't rather surprising. I wouldn't worry about it. :D

Of course, the irony with that swipe is zone rating specifically rated Gonzalez as a good to very good shortstop in 2006. Additionally, the vast majority of defensive systems I've seen have rated Gonzalez anywhere from above average to very good defensively in recent seasons. I can't speak for those who just take swipes at the statistical community whenever they can, but everything I've researched - including statistics and scouting data - concludes that Gonzalez's defensive abilities are most likely somewhere within the range of above average to very good.

Myself, I'm content knowing that.

BRM
02-23-2007, 12:07 PM
Dial ranked Alex Gonzalez second among AL shortstop's last season FWIW.

Johnny Footstool
02-23-2007, 12:13 PM
Curt Schilling, Terry Francona and Davey Concepcion obviously know nothing about baseball, because I've read on here that Gonzalez isn't that great defensively. Those guys need to pay less attention to the games and bone up on zone ratings.

The metrics say that Gonzalez is very good, but a tick behind the upper echelon (Everett, Counsell, Vizquel, Khalil Greene). He's on par with Rafael Furcal and Juan Uribe.

He's good, but not all-world great.

KronoRed
02-23-2007, 12:45 PM
If Josh Hamilton is the Reds starting CF this year I'll walk to Cincinnati from The coast.
Your walking shoes are safe, JR will be the CF.

deltachi8
02-23-2007, 12:48 PM
It took me a while, but I am OK with the Gonzalez signing. Perhapps they paid a tick or two too much, but that also may be the reality of getting player to Concinnati - I don't know that, just a thought.

I would not have minded Phillips getting a run at SS. I think he is a fine defensive SS having seen him play in Buffalo while in the Indians chain. However, I am no scout and eyes can be decieved, and in this case, perhaps it is better to go with the known good - very good player over one who could be.

As WOY pointed out, the SS is probably the most important defensive position on the diamond. Having a very good one as opposed to the collection of statues and less than average players that have been used is fine by me.

Reds Nd2
02-23-2007, 01:44 PM
...but everything I've researched - including statistics and scouting data - concludes that Gonzalez's defensive abilities are most likely somewhere within the range of above average to very good.

Myself, I'm content knowing that.
Yep and I agree, but that coins not as shiney when you turn it over.

Weighted Mean

AVG OBP SLG EqA WARP
.256 .306 .421 .247 2.9

Roy Tucker
02-23-2007, 01:57 PM
I'll be happy with Gonzalez.

Since Larkin left, the Reds have have suffered through some pretty miserable play at SS from Lopez, Aurilia, Clayton, etc.

It will be nice to have a vacuum cleaner with some range over there this year. I think it will make a difference.

Marc D
02-24-2007, 08:58 AM
I'm fine with Gonzales and the upgrade at SS.

It will all go out the window once Narron starts working his magic. I guarantee you see a game close and late with Dunn and EE on the bench for defensive replacements while Griffey stands there watching from CF.