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Gonzalez: 'Really excited about being able to play here'

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff  April 15, 2011 04:03 PM

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Consummating what initially was a handshake agreement, the Red Sox today signed first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to a seven-year, $154 million contract extension, formalizing an understanding that revived Gonzalez's trade from San Diego after three days of initial negotiations proved fruitless.

"Very grateful for this opportunity,'' Gonzalez said during a news conference at Fenway Park. "Like I said back in December, I'm really excited about being able to play here for the next seven years, hopefully longer, and I just want to thank John Henry and the whole front office for this extension.

"I'm really excited about being here and winning some championships.''

Gonzalez received a $6 million signing bonus. He will receive $21 million a year from 2012-16 then $21.5 million from 2017-18. The deal also includes limited no-trade protection. Gonzalez can designate two teams he cannot be traded to.

"This is the culmination of a process that started several months ago and we're pleased to get it done,'' said Sox general manager Theo Epstein. "We're more pleased to have Adrian as a Red Sox for now, and for the long term, even more pleased than the day we acquired him initially, having gotten to know him and see what he and his wife, Betsy, are all about.

"Hope this will go down, and I believe this will go down, as a great day for the organization,'' Epstein said. "Adrian's going to make a major impact here for a long time."

Sox manager Terry Francona said it was the right move for a lot of reasons.

“I know there’s some huge decisions management and ownership have to make. For me, that’s a pretty low-risk," he said. "You’re talking about a lot of years and a lot of money and I can’t think of a [better] guy. He gets it. He’s a solid, solid teammate. He’s a really good hitter. If he loses a little bit of speed over the next five or six years, nobody’s going to know.

“I think it’s a pretty good move.”

Francona has gotten to know Gonzalez over the last few months and nothing has surprised him.

“We had a pretty good idea what we were getting. But it’s nice to see it. … It’s kind of reassuring. You go through a tough week, he’s been so positive. Like I said, he gets it. He understands why we’re here. He gets it, that’s the best way to see it. He understands what’s going on. I think he flat-out gets it.”

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