The Padres' Adrian Gonzalez hit his major league-leading 21st home run last night (above). (Raul Ibanez of the Phillies and Carlos Pena of the Rays are tied for second with 17 each.) With Jake Peavy's tenuous status making his future with the Padres uncertain, Gonzalez is the one bright spot the team's fans can enjoy guilt-free.
Even better for the Padres, Gonzalez is in the middle of a bargain-basement four-year, $9.5 million contract, with a club option for a fifth year at $5.5 million. This year, he's making only $3 million. (His brother Edgar is costing the Padres an extra $400,000. Not a bad investment.) Score one for Kevin Towers—and Ned Colletti, are you taking notes?
Even before Manny Ramirez's suspension, the NL West had less power than Clark Kent in a Kryptonite straitjacket. (Yesterday's spoiler Mark Reynolds is the only other player in the division with double-digit home runs, at 13.) Until July 3, Gonzalez is the most exciting hitter in the division. And thank goodness for the Dodgers' nine-game lead over the Padres, because he's a lot more fun to watch from a distance.
photo by Lenny Ignelzi/AP