The Butter and Eggs man. AGon. The senior captain and anchor of the Dodgers infield. El Titan. Gonzo. So many words for our beloved first baseman.
2016 saw Adrian Gonzalez have another steady season. He brought his batting average up 10 points, and lowered his amount of errors to only two. He hit is 300th home run in August. What Adrian lacks in speed, he more than makes up for his ability to turn a potential error into an out by stretching and scooping balls out of the dirt. But man, even though he may not be able to run fast, Gonzalez always gives it his all. I still think he was safe at home in Game 4 of the NLCS. But I guess I have to let that go now.
Adrian has had an eventful offseason. In December, Adrian, along with his wife Betsy, accompanied manager Dave Roberts and his wife Tricia to Dubai where the Dodgers have partnered with Emirates Airlines to sponsor the Dubai Little League. He most recently has been in Mexico, working with the Mexican version of Shark Tank. His Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages have been busy all off season with videos of his workouts; working out in snow, directly after landing from Dubai, pulling weight sleds, and running on treadmills. He’s even made a little game of it, tagging other Dodger players, including Joc Pederson, to ask them to show themselves working out.
Gonzalez is gearing up for both spring training, and for playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. Team Mexico will be managed by Adrian’s older brother Edgar Gonzalez. As of now, Adrian is the only player from the Dodgers playing in the World Baseball Classic.
As Adrian is starting to get on in his baseball playing years, there’s been some speculation as to whether his spot will soon be overtaken by prospect Cody Bellinger. Cody has been rapidly moving up the ranks in the Dodgers organization, and should start the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City. Fangraphs projects Adrian to have a bit of a decline year, to play 135 games with a slash line of .263/.333/.433, 20 home runs and 75 RBI. If that prediction holds true, it would be his lowest offensive output to date, aside from the home runs.
Bellinger does also play the outfield. If he continues to tear up the minor leagues, which I’m sure he will, he will get the call -up in September. It will be an interesting thing to watch unfold, how and when Bellinger takes over for Gonzalez. Bellinger was labeled off limits to any team desiring to engage in a trade with the Dodgers, so they certainly look at him as their future first baseman. Gonzalez is signed through the 2018 season.
Until then, though, I have no doubt Adrian will continue to be a steady force at first base, and a man able to come through in clutch situations at the plate, just like he’s always done. And the selfies with Justin Turner. Don’t forget the selfies!