Since long before the dawn of time, Adrian Gonzalez has apparently been destined to wear red stockings and single-handedly counteract the Yankees’ colossal lineup.

Gonzalez—painted as Theo Epstein’s great California hope—is widely and inexplicably discussed as the coming savior of the struggling Sox.

All last year the trade rumors swirled. They continue to spin, and this writer accepts his share of responsibility in placing such unrealistic expectations on the Padres’ should-be franchise player.

Where this fairy tale began, nobody—including Sweet Caroline—really knows.

At some point it was reported or leaked or fed that Theo Epstein desired—nay, coveted—either Adrian Gonzalez or Felix Hernandez, or both.

This longing for King Felix—which is traceable to a comment Epstein made at a charity event—was cruelly cooled this offseason, when the Seattle Mariners successfully and surprisingly extended their ace through 2014.

However, Epstein’s want of Gonzalez—who projects as too rich for the blood of the Padres’ ownership—has never abated. As the conclusion of Gonzalez’ current contract rushes ever closer, the faithful watch and wait for San Diego to falter, fall out of contention, and deal their superstar.

That foregone conclusion may be precipitous.

The San Diego Padres are battling, even now, with the pitching-deep San Francisco Giants for first place in the National League West. While the historically powerful Los Angeles Dodgers are mired in divorce court and enjoy last place, the Padres have realized an opening.

Ubaldo Jimenez cannot save the Colorado Rockies on his own, and Kelly Johnson likely cannot hit 54 homers for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

San Diego could make a push this year, for they now lead the Wild Card race.

Although most expect them to fade, this division is weak enough that a team like San Diego could be buyer’s rather than sellers at the trade deadline.

If San Diego remains too strong to sell off the face of their franchise, to where will the Red Sox Nation look for salvation?


Indeed, who would ever look to Milwaukee for much beyond fantasy outfield points and cheap beer?

Theo Epstein may have to do so.

The Brewers are bottom feeders in a division led by the thoroughly dominant St. Louis Cardinals. They simply do not, and never will have the pitching to compete with St. Louis this year.

Historically, the Brewers have been sellers, and with Prince Fielder coming up for free agency at the end of 2011—just like Gonzalez—they may have to be sellers again this year should they wish to haul in a full return for their slugging first baseman.

Fielder’s contract is far less club friendly than is that of Adrian Gonzalez. While Gonzalez earns just $4.75 million in 2010 and $5.5 million in 2011, Fielder commands $10.5 million this year, and his pay should balloon in 2011 when he is arbitration eligible.

With the ink still fresh on Ryan Howard’s mammoth contract, the Brewers’ ownership would be foolhardy to expect Fielder to take a hometown discount.

Fielder should—should—be available this year.

If David Ortiz continues to struggle, he’ll be released. If Mike Lowell continues to produce, he could be traded.

One way or another, Theo Epstein can make room on the roster for the young Prince.

This is the deal Red Sox Nation should anticipate.

Whether Fielder—galloping in on some oversized horse—can rescue the Red Sox is another matter entirely.


Read more MLB news on