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No, Adrian

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  November 10, 2010 09:52 AM

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That deep, talented farm system that's going to eventually yield Adrian Gonzalez? Yeah, maybe not.

According to a piece by Fox' Jon Paul Morosi, in which he advocates the importance of the Sox re-signing Adrian Beltre above any other move, he points out that both Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America see Boston's farm system in freefall mode. 

In doubting that the Sox would have enough to land Gonzalez or Milwaukee slugger Prince Fielder, Jr., Morosi writes:

I also question whether Boston's farm system is rich enough to deal for either player without including prized pitching prospect Casey Kelly. (Even then, Kelly had a 6.75 ERA in the Arizona Fall League this year.) First baseman Lars Anderson, once viewed as one of the best 20 prospects anywhere, has been ordinary over the past two years.

Kevin Goldstein, the prospects expert for Baseball Prospectus, said the Red Sox farm system ranked fifth entering this season but has "dropped significantly."

Baseball America also ranked them No. 5 in the spring. But Jim Callis, the Baseball America executive editor, figures they would be in the 11 to 15 range now.

"Many of their top prospects were injured or underperformed," Goldstein said. "They have a lot of interesting and/or intriguing young players who are VERY far away -- as always -- but the upper levels are far thinner than they have been in the past...I think there are a lot of other teams who could offer more attractive packages."

Lars Anderson is still only 23, and despite falling off BA's radar entirely (the first baseman wasn't included in their top 10 franchise prospects list released last week), he could still have a productive career. But he' not going to yield you Gonzalez at this point, and Theo Epstein would probably rather give David Ortiz a new, five-year deal than he would surrender Casey Kelly.

There's also the question of Gonzalez's health, as he went on a San Diego radio station yesterday and revealed that he underwent surgery for labrum repair and won't even be able to swing a bat for four to five months. Then he went and pulled a Papelbon explaining why he was out for top dollar. For the kids, you know. 

"(My contract) affects every single young (first baseman), Ike Davis and Joey Votto and every guy behind me that's going to sign a contract, and I (will) set the market for them," Gonzalez told San Diego radio station XX1090. "Ryan Howard and those names that are being thrown out there, they set the market for when I become a free agent. So when those guys behind us are free agents, I'm going to be the one setting the market for them. In essence, if I take what you call a San Diego discount, I'm affecting their market, I'm affecting what they're going to make." 

So, it would seem we're set up for yet another winter of unrealistic conclusions when it comes to Adrian Gonzalez and Boston. Wonderful. 

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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