The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves shocked the baseball world this past winter as they completed a salary-motivated trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir and Charlie Culberson to Atlanta, and brought Matt Kemp back to Los Angeles, the team that drafted him.
Gonzalez had to waive his no-trade clause for the trade to happen, which he recently revealed took extra compensation to do. But after rejecting the trade five times, Gonzalez ultimately agreed to the deal as the Braves’ planned was to release him.
That would send Gonzalez into free agency for the first time in his career, but with the chance to sign with any team of his choosing. That wound up being the New York Mets, who inked the veteran first baseman to a Major League contract.
Before agreeing to a contract with the Mets, Gonzalez consulted former teammate and good friend Justin Turner, as the All-Star third baseman spent four years in the Mets organization before joining the Dodgers, via Mike Puma of the New York Post:
“He said everything was great about the organization and that made the decision easier for me,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez and Turner were extremely close in their time with the Dodgers, standing as two of the biggest clubhouse leaders. Their situations in New York are completely different though, as Turner was a young player trying to establish himself, whereas Gonzalez is an established five-time All-Star trying to prove he still has some left in the tank after a rough 2017 season.
Gonzalez is coming off a season in which he only played 71 games due to a herniated disc in his back. He posted career-lows in pretty much every offensive category, so at 35 years of age this opportunity with the Mets could be his last unless he can prove he is healthy and still the player he once was.
Working in Gonzalez’s favor is he has every opportunity to earn a starting job, as the Mets don’t have a clear answer at first base.