By Jon Weisman
Well, with all that’s been going on in this Dodgers-Padres series, it’s about time we confront how much damage that All-Star slugger is doing to his old division rival.
Yes, Adrian Gonzalez is hammering the Padres.
No, the Padres didn’t trade Gonzalez directly to the Dodgers, but they did part ways with him, and now he’s in Los Angeles taking his old team to task.
Since being sent to Boston after the 2010 season, Gonzalez has a .338 on-base percentage and .492 slugging percentage in 198 plate appearances with eight home runs against San Diego. That includes going 8 for 14 with a double in three games for the Red Sox against the Padres.
In his first two seasons with the Dodgers (2012-13), the first baseman kind of went nuts against Padre pitching, going 33 for 95 (.347) with eight homers, a .379 OBP and .579 slugging.
Just to remind you that these things ebb and flow, Gonzalez tailed off against San Diego in 2014 (.598 OPS in 81 plate appearances) despite a Sliver Slugger season. But as you know, Gonzalez is back at it in 2015, starting off with a single, double and home run in each of his first two games.
Matt Kemp has been off to a strong start in his post-Dodger career against his former team, going 3 for 8 with a double and a walk. Almost more strikingly, he has been both patient and pesky at the plate, rather than pressing to impress — averaging 4.33 pitches per plate appearance, which puts him in the National League top 20 after two days.
But it’s good to keep in mind that with all the player movement in baseball, it’s inevitable that a former teammate is going to hurt you at some point. And how they got there really is the least of it.
It’s interesting how the Padres fared with their Gonzalez trade. Three of the four players they acquired (Reymond Fuentes, Casey Kelly and Eric Patterson) have amounted to little. The fourth, Anthony Rizzo, went to the Cubs in the deal that yielded tonight’s starting pitcher, Andrew Cashner. So it boils down to Gonzalez for Cashner, which I believe is better than these deals sometimes end up, and why San Diego fans shouldn’t focus too much energy on the idea that Gonzalez was once theirs.
Similarly, the Dodgers, who parlayed Kemp’s strengths into catcher Yasmani Grandal, pitcher Joe Wieland and half of the package for shortstop Jimmy Rollins, stand to do quite well themselves, even if Kemp hits for their rivals — especially for those 143 games he plays against everybody else.