BOSTON – Adrian Gonzalez signed a $154 million, seven-year contract Friday with the Boston Red Sox, then turned his attention to an elusive reward — winning.

“We have faith in ourselves,” said Gonzalez, whose new deal runs through 2018. “We’re going to turn this around.”

Gonzalez is making $6.3 million in the final year of the contract he had when the Red Sox obtained him Dec. 6 from the San Diego Padres for three prospects.

Gonzalez, a three-time All-Star first baseman, will get a $6 million signing bonus, salaries of $21 million a season from 2012-16, and $21.5 million in each of the final two years.

“If you’re going to make this kind of commitment, I think you have to be very comfortable with not only the player but also the person,” General Manager Theo Epstein said. “If you’re going to bet on one player, we’re very comfortable betting on Adrian Gonzalez.”

Despite the size of the contract, “that’s a pretty low risk,” Manager Terry Francona said. “He gets it. He’s a solid, solid teammate.”

Epstein praised Gonzalez for how well he’s fit in with his new team and the leadership he’s displayed during Boston’s poor start.

“Adrian has really impressed everybody by being so engaged in every aspect of the game. He’s not one of these great players who just shows up to hit four times a day,” Epstein said. “He’s been really active on defense, active in the clubhouse, involved in everything that’s going on.”

Gonzalez also has stayed optimistic as the team that was picked by many to win the World Series matched its record for its worst start in the first 11 games.

“I’m a very positive person,” Gonzalez said. “I just keep telling everybody, ‘Have fun, play your game and things will turn around.’ One thing that we’ll always have is that talent-wise we’re going to be better than the other team, so just focus on that.”

Gonzalez could have played out this season and become a free agent, but wanted the certainty of knowing where he would be.

“I’m a person that really likes to just focus on winning,” he said. “When the focus isn’t on the team, that’s not where I want to be. I want to be where ‘let’s forget about everything else and let’s just focus on winning and being part of the team.’ “

Gonzalez, in his eighth season, underwent offseason shoulder surgery.

“The last piece of the puzzle was Adrian’s return to health,” Epstein said. “He promised he’d be ready by opening day. He absolutely was ready.”

 


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