Adrian Gonzalez Finalizes One-Year Deal with the New York Mets

Adrian Gonzalez has Mets his match…

The 35-year-old Mexican American professional baseball player has finalized a one-year deal with the New York Mets for the $545,000 major league minimum.

Adrian Gonzalez

And Gonzalez vows to have a quiet voice with his new team.

Bobby Valentine, Gonzalez’s manager during the Boston Red Sox‘s last-place 2012 season, was quoted by the New York Post this week as saying: “He can really talk — he is a smart guy and he is excessive in his willingness to share his thoughts.”

“I think Bobby was in the right there,” Gonzalez said. “I think going into that 2012 season I heard a lot of people tell me that I had to be more of a vocal leader and do things that were out of context for me. I feel like I went into that season trying to make myself do something that I’m not used to doing. And I do agree with Bobby: I think I had a lot of opinions that year. But I don’t think it is who I am.”

Gonzalez said he reverted to his previous demeanor after he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in August 2012.

“I made a commitment to myself to not be somebody that someone else wants me to be and just be who I am,” he said. “I think that was the only season when I’ve been that person, and I promise that is not who I am and that’s not who I’ll be and definitely not who I’m going to be with the Mets because that’s not me.”

Now 35, Gonzalez will compete for playing time with rookie first baseman Dominic Smith, who hit .198 in 49 games after his August call-up. Outfielder Jay Bruce and Wilmer Flores also are possibilities for time at first, general manager Sandy Alderson said this week.

“There is somewhat of a defined role as far as starting a good amount of games but it’s not set in stone,” Gonzalez said. “I am a player that can put up great numbers, drive in runs and help the team win.”

Gonzalez hit .242 for the Dodgers last season, when he was limited to 71 games because of a herniated disk in his back. He was left off the postseason roster and watched postseason games from a luxury suite. Major League Baseball limits the dugout to active players during games, and Gonzalez said the Dodgers didn’t allow inactive players in the clubhouse.

“It was unique to be able to watch them from the TV,” he said, “almost be a super fan and be there with them and the ups and downs and give advice from what I see.”

A five-time All-Star, Gonzalez has a .288 average with 311 home runs in 14 major league seasons. The Atlanta Braves, who sent outfielder Matt Kemp to Los Angeles, are responsible for all of his salary except for the amount offset by what the Mets are paying. He was in entering the final season of a $154 million, seven-year contract he signed with Boston, and the Braves will receive $4.5 million from the Dodgers by May 1 as part of the trade.

Gonzalez has changed his offseason workouts because of the bad back.

“I’m doing more Pilates, more stretching, more conditioning, a lot of water activity, water aerobics,” he said. “It’s responding really well.”

He plans to mentor the 22-year-old Smith in spring training, especially on defense.

“Just kind of the mindset and tell him all my experiences and everything I’ve done,” he said. “So I’m looking forward to that adventure, Dominic, as well, so I can help him become the best major leaguer he can be in the future.”

Tejada Signs One-Year Contract with the St. Louis Cardinals

Ruben Tejada will be flying high in St. Louis…

The 26-year-old Panamanian professional baseball player has signed a one-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. The deal is worth $1.5 million, according to multiple reports.

Ruben Tejada

The announcement comes just days after Tejada was released by the New York Mets.

St. Louis needed another infielder after losing shortstop Jhonny Peralta for the first few months of the season with a torn ligament in his left thumb, which required surgery to repair.

“We do feel like there is an opportunity to add depth, because Tejada was recently released, and for us it made sense to pursue this,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said, according to MLB.com. “I just think it makes our club stronger overall, and ultimately it then gives (manager) Mike (Matheny) the flexibility to utilize the different infield positions until Peralta gets back.”

Tejada had returned healthy this spring training after suffering a fractured fibula in his right leg on a slide from Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers during Game 2 of the National League Division Series.

Tejada hit .261 with three homers and 28 RBIs in 360 at-bats last season.

Had he not been released by the Mets, Tejada was due to earn $3 million this season. By releasing him more than 15 days before Opening Day, the Mets were obligated to pay him slightly less than $500,000.

Tejada became expendable with the Mets because they added middle infielders Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera during the offseason and also have Wilmer Flores to handle shortstop.