BOSTON -- This is going to be fascinating to watch all summer, no more so than for San Diego Padres GM Jed Hoyer.
Hoyer is the guy who traded his team's biggest star and hometown hero, Adrian Gonzalez, to Hoyer's former employer, the Red Sox, for three prospects: pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and outfielder Reymond Fuentes.
On Friday, the Sox are expected to make the official announcement of the seven-year, $154 million contract extension they are giving Gonzalez, the middle-of-the-order, lefthanded bat they hope will make the same kind of impact this decade that David Ortiz did in the last. Gonzalez is off to a modest start, batting .268/.362/.439 with a home run and 7 RBIs, but the signs are all there that he will be exactly what was advertised.
The Padres, meanwhile, have to be pleased with the early returns on their side of the deal. Rizzo, who has been likened to a younger version of A-Gon, is off to a great start for Triple-A Tucson, batting .333 (11 for 33) with 2 home runs and 11 RBIs in just seven games. Kelly, pitching for Double-A San Antonio, made his home debut for the Missions Thursday night a successful one. With Hoyer in attendance, Kelly allowed just 3 hits and an earned run in 6 innings, inducing 13 ground-ball outs while striking out two. Fuentes, meanwhile, is playing for Class A Lake Elsinore in the California League and batting .310 in 7 games.
Could Rizzo be in the big leagues before the end of the season? Hoyer will let Rizzo's play dictate the answer to that question, but the Padres' regular first baseman, Brad Hawpe, is batting just .129 (4 for 31) in the early going.