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
3 Questions with Gary Payton: Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose Players Only: Marcus Mariota's Course Load at Oregon How We Almost Got Johnny Cowboy Donald Sterling Loses The Clippers For Good - @TheBuzzeronFox Franklin talks leaving Vandy Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX Michael Jordan OK With LeBron James Wearing No. 23? - @TheBuzzeronFox The Cornhuskers have gone...Loco? McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Jack White's Cub Face How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China
Boston Sports
3 Questions with Gary Payton: Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose Players Only: Marcus Mariota's Course Load at Oregon How We Almost Got Johnny Cowboy Donald Sterling Loses The Clippers For Good - @TheBuzzeronFox Franklin talks leaving Vandy Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX Michael Jordan OK With LeBron James Wearing No. 23? - @TheBuzzeronFox The Cornhuskers have gone...Loco? McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Who will Brady turn to if Gronk can’t stay healthy? Gronkowski cleared to participate in Patriots training camp Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season