The Red Sox, who have had a revolving at shortstop in recent seasons, reacquired a familiar face this afternoon in attempt to help solve their ongoing problem.
Alex Gonzalez, who was spectacular with the glove but so-so at the plate during 2006, his lone season in Boston, was reacquired by the club today from the Cincinnati Reds after he cleared waivers, the only way a player can be dealt after the July 31 deadline. The Reds also sent $1.1 million in cash to the Red Sox.
In exchange, the Sox have sent 23-year-old old Single A shortstop Kris Negron to the Reds to complete the deal. The player compensation was first reported by WEEI.com.
Gonzalez is not expected to join the team until tomorrow in Texas, according to his agent, Eric Goldshmidt. The most likely move would involve designating recently acquired infielder Chris Woodward for assignment to make room for Gonzalez on the roster.
His contract calls for a $6 million club option next season, meaning the Sox will have the right to retain to his services. Gonzalez has the right to reject the option and become a free agent, but it is unlikely that he would do so.
Gonzalez is having a subpar season even by his standards, batting .210 with three home runs and a .554 OPS in 68 games and 270 at-bats. But he remains as surehanded as ever at shortstop, with just six errors, eight fewer than Nick Green, who has seen the brunt of the playing time at the position for the Sox this season. Gonzalez has a .977 fielding percentage, .022 higher than Green’s. The Red Sox have scouted Gonzalez for a couple of weeks and believe he is still a good defender, though not at the level of 2006.
Gonzalez earned plenty of fans in Boston with his defensive wizardry in ’06, but he batted just .255 with a .299 OPS in 111 games, and his durability was a question after a shoulder injury hindered him for much of the second half of the season.
In November 2006, Gonzalez left the Red Sox to sign a three-year, $14 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds. The Red Sox, looking for more production from the position, signed Julio Lugo to a four-year, $36 million deal in early December.
His first season with the Reds was one of the best of his career — he batted .272 with 16 homers and 55 RBIs — but he missed the entire 2008 season after suffering a fracture in his knee. Some reports suggest his defensive range has been impacted by the knee issues.
Gonzalez debuted in the majors in 1998 with the Florida Marlins, the team for which he played until he signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Red Sox before the ’06 season to replace the defensively inferior Edgar Renteria, who was dealt to the Braves after one season in Boston. Coincidentally, Gonzalez also replaced Renteria as the Marlins’ shortstop in ’98.
His best season came in ’04, when he had career-highs in home runs (23) and RBIs (79) while with the Marlins.
Chad Finn of the Globe staff contributed to this report.