In his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was beloved by everyone in the organization and fanbase not only for his play on the field but also for his leadership in the clubhouse and work he did in the community.
Gonzalez’s tenure with the Dodgers came to an end on Saturday, as in a bit of a surprising move he was traded to the Atlanta Braves, along with Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir and Charlie Culberson and cash considerations in exchange for Matt Kemp.
The trade was essentially a salary dump for both teams, as the Dodgers unloaded $47.5 million in salary to get below the luxury tax threshold in 2018. The Braves took on salary in 2018 but got out of Kemp’s remaining two-year contract.
In order for the deal to be completed, Gonzalez had to waive his no-trade clause. By doing so he only temporarily joined the Braves, as they designated the veteran first baseman for assignment. Gonzalez will become a free agent for the first time in his career.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman commented on the nature of Gonzalez waiving his no-trade clause, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern Californa News Group:
Friedman said he had “a lot of really good, open, honest conversations” with Gonzalez about his place in the Dodgers’ plans this offseason. The veteran realized accepting a trade and then being released to become a free agent would be “in his best interests,” Friedman said, allowing him to “kind of have that runway to figure out what potential situations make the best sense for him and his family going forward.”
If Gonzalez had stayed with the Dodgers, it likely would have been as a bench player. The emergence of Cody Bellinger at first base this season left Gonzalez without a starting spot. And the 35-year-old let it be known he had plans to start next season.
Once he officially becomes a free agent, Gonzalez will be able to sign with any team. He’s hoping to enjoy a bounce-back year after an offseason in which he’ll focus on improving the condition of his back.