Red Sox former 1B Adrian Gonzalez asked to stay away from World Series

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 26: Adrian Gonzalez
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 26: Adrian Gonzalez /

The Los Angeles Dodgers have asked first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to stay away from the team during the World Series. Red Sox fans aren’t surprised.

It’s been five years since the Boston Red Sox shipped Adrian Gonzalez to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He lasted only a year and a half in Boston and now appears to have worn out his welcome in LA.

The LA Times reports that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has asked Gonzalez to spend the rest of the postseason as a spectator rather than participate in pregame workouts and meetings.

Gonzalez scuffled through the worst season of his career, hitting .242 with a .642 OPS. He appeared in only 71 games before going on the disabled list with a back injury to allow Cody Bellinger to remain on the roster. Even when he was healthy enough to return, the Dodgers kept Gonzalez on the sidelines. With the Rookie of the Year favorite taking over his role on the team, Gonzalez is no longer needed on the Dodgers roster.

He was away from the team for the first two rounds of the postseason, spending part of that time in Italy with his wife. While Gonzalez received permission from the team to make the trip, his absence clearly irked his teammates.

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Gonzalez spent Game 1 of the World Series in studio for SportsNet LA, but returned to the team and was in uniform for the next two games. Several Dodgers players were reportedly upset that Gonzalez was allowed on the field since typically only active players dress for games, along with a select group the team could turn to if there is a need for an injury replacement – a group Gonzalez is not a part of, according to Roberts.

You can understand why the Dodgers players don’t want Gonzelez around. He didn’t stand with them during the team’s run to the World Series so why should he share the moment with them now that they are on the game’s biggest stage?

Red Sox fans can certainly sympathize with how the Dodgers feel about their fading star. The blockbuster deal that sent him to LA was viewed mostly as a salary dump that shed a quarter of a billion dollars from Boston’s payroll. The Dodgers desperately wanted Gonzalez and the price the Red Sox made them pay was taking on the albatross contracts of Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. While saving money was a clear factor in Boston making the deal, removing disgruntled players from a toxic clubhouse atmosphere was equally as important. While the attitudes of Crawford and Beckett forced the Red Sox to wash their hands of them, Gonzalez wasn’t exactly winning teammate of the year honors.

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Remember during that 2012 season when text messages were sent to Red Sox ownership from Gonzalez’ phone complaining about manager Bobby Valentine? Gonzalez denied being behind those complaints and claimed that his teammates only sent it from his phone because a message from the team’s highest-paid player would carry more weight.

A report later came out that Kelly Shoppach was behind the text messages, which conveniently came out after the catcher had been traded to the New York Mets. Shoppach denied any involvement and seemed furious that his former teammates threw him under the bus.

Regardless of how Gonzalez felt about Valentine, this mess was a bad look for him. If he was among those that wanted the manager to be fired then his denials show a lack of accountability, while allowing Shoppach to take the fall was disgraceful. If Gonzelez really did have nothing to do with it then he should have said something to his teammates to rally the clubhouse rather than allow the mob mentality to take over. The Red Sox had a mutiny on their hands and the veteran Gonzalez was either a ringleader or failed to do anything about it. Either way, he was no leader and didn’t have his teammates backs when they needed him.

Now the Dodgers are the latest team to determine that they don’t need him. Los Angeles was 47-44 with Gonzalez on the roster this season and 57-14 without him. They also lost Games 2 and 3 of the World Series when Gonzalez was with the team after winning Game 1 without him around. Coincidence? Probably, yet if his presence is going to cause a distraction to the team then they can’t afford to have Gonazlez hanging around.

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Gonzalez is owed $22.4 million in the final year of his contract. At this point, we can probably assume the Dodgers will swallow that salary by releasing him after the season. That’s what they did with Crawford, who was sent home in the middle of last season. Crawford seems content to keep cashing checks despite no longer being on the roster. Next year Gonzalez can join him. If the Dodgers rally back to win this World Series then Crawford will have had about as much to do with the team’s success as Gonzalez has.