Gonzo Blues

One of the interesting stories at the Winter Meetings has been that of former Diamondback player Luis Gonzalez. The long-time face of the Diamondbacks is an unrestricted free agent after the Diamondbacks declined to offer him arbitration. Gonzo had wanted to remain a Diamondback but during a meeting in September the team stressed that he did not fit within their plans to be younger and more athletic. After an emotional farewell by the fans at the last game of the season, everyone expected Gonzalez to slowly fade into the sunset. That though does not seem to be the script that is being played out. Instead, Luis continues to garner headlines and air time in the valley as the team tries to ready itself for the post Gonzo era. The rumor mill had as many as 9 teams interested in signing Gonzalez but as of today it was down to three finalists. The St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, and the Los Angeles Dodgers had been identified as suitors for the 39-year-old outfielder. The question was, which one would he sign with.

The Orioles were rumored to have offered a two year deal worth an estimated $14 million. Gonzalez has publicly stated that he is interested in playing a couple of years so the contract length would be perfect in this scenario. Luis has expressed that he would prefer to remain in the National League and specifically with a National League West team so that he could have an opportunity to “remind” the Diamondbacks that he still has skills and can play the game. Luis also wants to stay close to Phoenix as his family plans to continue living here in the valley. It therefore came as little surprise when he turned down the offer from Baltimore and asked his agent to step up negotiations with the Dodgers. In a late night bargaining session that ended shortly before 1 AM Eastern time a deal was struck making Luis Gonzalez a Dodger and realizing the Diamondbacks worst fears. Now their Western Divisional rivals had not only added the one pitcher the Diamondbacks have had the most trouble with in Jason Schmidt but they have also added a big bat with a vendetta against his old team. The rivalry between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers just got a little bit more exciting for the upcoming season. It will be interesting to see what kind of reception Gonzo receives on April 16 when Los Angeles visits Chase Field for a brief 2 game series.

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