The Dodgers are better off trading Adrian Gonzalez

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07: Adrian Gonzalez (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07: Adrian Gonzalez (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Dodgers boast one of the deepest, youngest rosters in the league. Veteran Adrian Gonzalez remains on the outside looking in with this team.

Very few people in the game of baseball find their perfect match. Derek Jeter was born to be a New York Yankee. Yadier Molina was born to be a St. Louis Cardinal. Adrian Gonzalez was born to be a Los Angeles Dodger. Although it took Gonzalez three teams and nine years to become a Dodger, it finally happened 2012. When it did, the Dodgers seemingly found their perfect match.

Gonzalez signaled the start of a culture change in Los Angeles. Alongside Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and Josh Beckett, Gonzalez was sent to LA from Boston with a lot of guaranteed money. Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez joined the team to play shortstop. Star pitcher Zack Greinke joined fleet in 2013.

The Dodgers were effectively registered big spenders. Only two years after the organization filed bankruptcy protection, the new ownership — led by Magic Johnson — bolstered the highest paid roster in the MLB. However, it led to nothing. No titles, no parades, several missed opportunities.

Then Andrew Friedman’s front office came into play. Long gone were the massive contracts of Matt Kemp and Zack Greinke and in were diamonds in the rough in Chris Taylor and Alex Wood. Gonzalez, along with Clayton Kershaw, Andre Ethier and a retired Carl Crawford, took up the majority of the 2017 pay roll.

Now, the very same man that kick started five consecutive NL West titles may be the final transition to a new phase of Dodger baseball.

It’s time to trade Adrian Gonzalez.

It hurts to say. Gonzalez has been a fan-favorite since his arrival in Chavez Ravine back in 2012. A constant member of the middle of the order, Gonzalez slugged his way into the hearts of LA. From empty Sunday afternoon games to Tuesday night sellout, Gonzalez has seen it all in Los Angeles.

Then came the injuries and Gonzalez’ subsequent replacement: Cody Bellinger. The 2017 NL Rookie of the Year was rushed into the big leagues after Joc Pederson suffered a groin injury. After proving his worth on the team, Bellinger stuck around to play first base. Then, Gonzalez took time off to rest nagging injuries.

Even when Gonzalez returned, playing time was limited. The Dodgers went back to playing Bellinger in the outfield. However, a rolled ankle in right field haulted the Dodgers from even considering Bellinger a full-time outfielder.

Gonzalez then missed the postseason with a back injury. He did not travel with the team. Instead, he stayed home with his family to rest for 2018. Was this a sign of something? The Dodgers can move Bellinger back to left field, playing him at first base against southpaws.

But there are already two left-handed hitting left fielders in Andrew Toles and Joc Pederson. With slugger Giancarlo Stanton’s eyes set on the Dodgers, moving Bellinger to the outfield is unlikely. In fact, Stanton is the exact reason Gonzalez should be traded.

Arguably, the only thing holding the Dodgers back from trading from Giancarlo Stanton in the luxury tax. Stanton wants to be a Dodger, the Marlins seemingly do not have a tremendous asking price and the Dodgers can create an unstoppable 100 home run duo.

Gonzalez, who is owed $21.5 million next season, is the first piece to move to free up salary cap space. This move is better for the Dodgers. Stanton produces far more than Gonzalez. Bellinger can hit both left-handers and right-handers. For a team full of platoons, having two more non-platooned players is key.

More from LA Sports Hub

This move is better for Adrian Gonzalez as well. Being an everyday first baseman has caught up  to Gonzalez. Prior to 2017, Gonzalez had 11 straight seasons with at least 156 games played. Gonzalez played in 1745 games in the span, the most in baseball. Only Robinson Cano and Ichiro Suzuki had over 1700.

Thus, it is time for Gonzalez to make the inevitable move that every veteran first baseman makes: to designated hitter. Gonzalez’ veteran insight, mixed with a bat that can still hit .275 with 25 home runs, would be perfect for a young team.

Put Gonzalez in Yankee Stadium or Tropicana Field as a DH. He will again become one of the most productive players in the MLB.

Gonzalez is on the bring on Hall of Fame contention. On the Dodgers, he will be nothing more than a spot-starter that will lose worth. On an American League club, he can go back to his slugging ways without the nuisance of playing the field.

Next: How Ohtani would help the Dodgers in 2018

It’s time to trade Adrian Gonzalez. It is better for both sides. As sad as it would be to see him go, it is better for both parties.