EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

September 27, 2006

Shortstop Gonzo hopes for extended stay

BOSTON - The Red Sox aren't completely done with the 2006 season, but their final few games aren't preventing some from dipping their toes in the drama that will be the upcoming offseason.

Yesterday, Alex Gonzalez helped start the process.

The Red Sox shortstop made it clear what it will take to get him back in Boston next season. And, according to Gonzalez, that doesn't include the kind of one-year deal he played under this year.

"Three years," said the impending free agent when asked what he will be looking for in the open market. "I'm tired of going year to year. I have to take care of my family, too. It's not so much for me, but for my family. I have two kids, so I'm looking for three or four years.

"It's really hard to play year by year. You have to think about it a lot. But maybe if you sign three or four years, you will play better."

The number of years might appear to be a bit high for Boston's taste, given that the Red Sox, 5-1 winners last night over visiting Tampa Bay, signed Gonzalez to a one-year, $3 million deal last offseason after watching the shortstop play winter ball in Venezuela. They were convinced that his injured elbow was not a factor.

It wasn't an ideal scenario for the 29-year-old, who also received one-year offers from Toronto and Arizona. That has changed after Gonzalez's performance this season, in which he is hitting nine points above his career average while maintaining a .985 fielding percentage (7 errors in 475 chances).

Another plus Gonzalez has going for him is the dearth of shortstops he will be competing with for the free-agent bucks. Some of the viable shortstops available this winter include Craig Counsell (whom the Red Sox showed mild interest in before inking Edgar Renteria), current Boston utilityman Alex Cora and the prize of the open market, Julio Lugo.

By most accounts, it's Lugo who will have the biggest say in what transpires to both of Boston's middle infield positions. The Red Sox have already made three runs at the 30-year-old - the last two non-waiver trade deadlines as well as last December - and figure to do so again with the club's need for more offense.

"Defensively, compared to what I heard the previous year, I thought he played much better this year. He made less mistakes," said Lugo's former manager, Tampa Bay skipper Joe Maddon. "As a teammate, he's unbelievable. He has energy every night. He's one of those guys who loves to play.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft NHL playoff preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL playoff preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens NHL playoff preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Carolina Panthers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Atlanta Falcons Too Hot or Too Cold: Brewers and Rangers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Oakland Raiders NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Houston Texans NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Jacksonville Jaguars Olympic Great Michael Phelps Ending Retirement Draft Preview: Chris Davis Draft Preview: Jay Prosch Watson: 'I'm always going to cry' Is the use of pine tar considered cheating? Draft Preview: Jake Matthews Draft Preview: L'Damian Washington
Boston Sports
Iginla hungry for first Stanley Cup Running Strong: How the Bruins National Anthem brought Boston together Patriots Talk TV: Should the Pats abandon the 2 TE system? Brad Stevens: Hopeful season was a 'learning experience' for young Celtics Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft NHL playoff preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL playoff preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens NHL playoff preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday McAdam: MLB replay system already affecting Sox Running Strong: Marathon Sports Manager, Shane O'Hara reflects back on Marathon bombings Merloni: An imperfect game we're trying to make perfect Felger sounds of on the MLB replay system McAdam: Pedroia D.L. stint 'not hard to imagine' NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Carolina Panthers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Atlanta Falcons Too Hot or Too Cold: Brewers and Rangers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Oakland Raiders