Luis Gonzalez took over left field from Brent Brede after being acquired by the Diamondbacks in 1999. Is Barry Bonds next?
Gonzalez was a free agent for only hours Saturday before San Francisco and Texas came calling, major league sources confirmed Sunday, becoming the first two teams to initiate contact with Gonzalez in what could blossom into a bullish market for his services.
Gonzalez, 38, hit .271 with 15 home runs and 52 doubles last year and also has been linked to Detroit and Houston in published reports.
Although San Francisco’s conversation was characterized as “general,” the Giants’ interest is the most intriguing and could indicate a fundamental shift in organizational thinking under new manager Bruce Bochy.
Giants management has expressed what can be described as only lukewarm interest in resigning left fielder Barry Bonds, who is 22 home runs short of passing Hank Aaron for the major league record and also filed for free agency Saturday.
San Francisco’s contact could indicate a willingness to go in another direction, since Gonzalez’s best position also is left field.
When Bochy managed in San Diego, he was an admirer of Gonzalez’s work, and there were hints on the D-Backs’ road trip to San Diego in September that the Padres would consider Gonzalez.
Gonzalez has indicated a preference to remain in the NL West, in part so he can be close to his Valley home and in part so he can play against the D-Backs 19 times a year.
Texas, which recently fired manager Buck Showalter and has not hired a replacement, appears to be interested in Gonzalez not only as a left fielder and designated hitter but also as a clubhouse stabilizer. Detroit is said to be looking to upgrade its designated hitter position.
Teams cannot talk about money to free agents other than their own until Nov. 12, when the open signing period begins.