BOSTON (CBS) — Adrian Gonzalez was a lot of things in Boston, but fiery was never one of them.
It’s no surprise, then, to see that a change in uniform and scenery hasn’t turned the first baseman into a different person.
The trade of Gonzalez (along with Josh Beckett, Nick Punto and Carl Crawford) was met with much celebration by Los Angeles fans and media. Since then, though, the Dodgers are just 6-9, five games behind the Giants for the NL West lead. While Gonzalez has a walk-off hit and a ninth-inning triple in that span, he’s hitting just .242 with just a .675 OPS (he’s a career .293 hitter with an .878 OPS). He’s also apparently not winning many friends in the media.
“He shows all the emotion of a mercenary paid to do a job, and oh well if it doesn’t go well,” wrote the Los Angeles Times’ T.J. Simers, who made headlines in Boston a few weeks ago for engaging in a memorable back-and-forth with Beckett. “He’s every bit the flat liner the folks in Boston said he was there, melting when called on to deliver in a key situation.”
Simers compares Gonzalez to J.D. Drew, a player who quickly fell out of fans’ favor in both L.A. and Boston for not showing outward signs of emotion and seeming to not care all that much about the game. Such a disposition is overlooked when a player is performing, but when he’s not, it becomes a focal point.
“Has the belly-flop of the last two weeks been the adjustment that comes with a change, or did the people in Boston have Gonzalez pegged correctly?” Simers wrote.
Simers detailed an exchange with Gonzalez from the clubhouse, after the first baseman hit that timely triple in a Dodgers victory.
“I’m a baseball player and not a question and answer. It’s not in my contract [to talk to the media],” Gonzalez told Simers.
Simers contrasts that behavior with Matt Kemp, the MVP candidate for the Dodgers who’s sidelined due to injury. Despite the setback, Kemp is still a force in the clubhouse, and he still takes questions from the media.
“He takes question after question about his injury, still very much the team leader,” Simers wrote of Kemp, “while a locker away Gonzalez wilts.”