Carlos Gonzalez, in Coors Field for at least 7 more seasons while paying him about $80 million. He also got a $3.5 million signing bonus.
Gonzalez was originally signed as an amateur free-agent in 2002 by the Arizona Diamondbacks and was traded to Oakland. The former top prospect in the Oakland Athletic's organization was then traded during the 2009-2010 off season in the Houston Street-Matt Holiday trade along with pitcher Greg Smith. Gonzalez had a great first full season in the bigs, with a good line of .336/.376/.598 with 34 homers and 26 stolen bases.
There is already a problem there: the OBP and BA differential is very small, 40 points. But his SLG is obviously outstanding. But that is also another huge problem. I recently learned this in the book Baseball Between the Numbers: a higher OBP is much more valuable than a high SLG. In the book, written by Baseball Prospectus, Baseball Prospectus put certain players and lineups into a computer system called BLOOP. BLOOP calculates how many runs a player or lineup should produce over the course of a full season (162 games). BLOOP was created by the famous Baseball Prospectus group. I am sorry to say that I do not have access to this software but my point is that this proves that if a player with a high SLG but low OBP will create less runs than that of a player with a high OBP and low SLG. Carlos Gonzalez had an extremely high SLG and, yes, a high OBP, but it was not high in relative to his batting average which makes him perhaps a little overrated. Again since I do not have access to BLOOP, I really cannot prove this theory, hence why it is a theory.
"Cargo" saw a decent (in my opinion) amount of P/PA at 3.57 but had a great ISO of .262 in 2010. He was below average in strike out rate, 23%, and below average in walk rate, 6.3%. (MLB average for K-rate: 20.7%. BB-rate: 8.5.) This shows that this kid has a crap load of potential if he just be a little more patient at the plate and get his walk and strikeout rates to average.
And perhaps his plate discipline is a little sub-par as well. His O-Swing% in 2010 was 37%, the MLB average is 29.3%. But what makes this stat even worse is that his O-Contact% was 60.2% and the MLB average is 66.5%. That means that he, himself, shaved off a good portion of his potential batting average, and that raises the ceiling even higher for him in the future of his career. Honestly, I see why Billy Beane traded him.
I think that this is a good choice for the Rockies, but I would have waited one more year to make sure that this is real and it wasn't a bluff year. But I understand that the Rockies wanted to get rid of his arbitration years.
If Gonzalez can just polish up his plate discipline a bit (there is absolutely no guarantee that he will), he could possibly be right up there with Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and Josh Hamilton. It's good to expect about a .320-.330/.400-.420/.650 line and probably 40 home runs in a few years as that is what seems logical at this point based on what we have seen though his pro career in the major and minors. That's superstar status right there. For Christ's sake, he finished 3rd in the NL MVP voting last season...in his first full season, at the tender age of 24. But for next season, he should take a small step back, but he will still put up strong numbers: .300/.345/.530 and 26-29 homers is a nice bet.
(Statistics in courtesy of: espn.com, baseball-reference.com, and fangraphs.com)