Adrian Gonzalez is the second highest-paid player on the Los Angeles Dodgers, and while the team makes its first World Series appearance since 1988 Tuesday night, Gonzalez will be nowhere in sight. Instead, the 35-year-old first baseman will be on vacation in Italy with his family, according to the LA Times.
Yes, instead of being there to support his team during the franchise’s biggest moment in decades, Gonzalez will be on vacation. This might be different if he had won multiple titles, or if the Dodgers had been in the series a number of times during his time with the team. But Gonzalez has never gotten a ring, and LA hasn’t so much as sniffed a series in almost three decades.
Gonzalez has been on the disabled list with back tightness since September 27. He hasn’t been on any of the team’s postseason rosters, nor has he been with the team during the playoffs.
The team gave Gonzalez permission to go off to Europe, so it isn’t like this is a surprise, but it is pretty insane. A five-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger winner who has been referred to as a clubhouse leader, isn’t going to be supporting his teammates during their biggest games?
Something weird is going on here. Gonzalez played in just 71 games this season, hitting .242 with three home runs and 30 RBIs. Maybe with Cody Bellinger playing like an MVP candidate this year and an abundance of outfielders, the Dodgers and Gonzalez think his time with the team has come to an end.
[UPDATE: Last night, Adrian Gonzalez appeared back on local television, but was not with the team.]
The reports that he was on a vacation in Europe originated with the LA Times, and came from this:
Gonzalez has 20 at-bats against Justin Verlander, more than any Dodger besides Curtis Granderson. He might have offered insight about how to hit Verlander, the Game 2 starter for the Houston Astros, but Gonzalez and his family went on vacation in Europe.
“I know all of us have been wondering where he’s at and looking forward to seeing him again,” outfielder Andre Ethier said. “We know that he’s a big part of this and want him to know that he’s a big part of this.”