Actually, this really might be the biggest trade in history, at least looking at the dollar amounts involved.
I think the Red Sox fleeced the Dodgers into buying in to the biggest salary dump in sports history. Get this, the Red Sox just unloaded $260 million worth of contracts on the Dodgers, basically in exchange for two hot pitching prospects.
My take on it, the Dodgers got swindled here and will live to regret this trade. They are saddled with $31 million for the next two years to Josh Beckett, who has always been maddeningly inconsistent, never stays healthy and is 5-11 this year with an ERA of 5.23.
The Dodgers get Carl Crawford, who is owed $100 million over the next five years, never did anything in two years in Boston and just had elbow tendon replacement surgery and may not play next year until June or July.
They get Adrian Gonzalez, which was a bit of a bummer. But, truth be told, Gonzalez was a *bit* of a letdown in Boston … a bit. He was definitely not putting up big power numbers, at least not the numbers Boston expected. Gonzalez this year was on pace for only 20 or 21 home runs this year after only 27 last year. His OPS this year was only .812 and his slugging percentage was .469 — those are NOT $21 million a year numbers. He averaged 34 home runs a year for four years in San Diego, and that is a pitcher-friendly park. Truth be told, he had a big drop-off in power in Boston (his batting average was a solid .321, but BA is an overrated statistic.).
This year alone, the Dodgers just got saddled with $56 million in salary for these three guys. The Red Sox just dumped about 1/3 of their payroll. If they can find a way to get rid of the dead weight of John Lackey ($18 million a year, geesh!), that could open up all kinds of possibilities.
I think it became time for the Red Sox to retool. What they were doing wasn’t working. They had the third-highest payroll in baseball and had a losing record, after missing the postseason with the second-highest payroll the previous two years. They have offence, but their pitching is terrible, and they lose too many games 9-8 (in fact, the other night, they lost a game 13-12). Beckett was a big part of that problem (as is Lackey and Dice-K). Too much money for crappy, injured pitchers. Just proves to me that it’s a mistake to throw a ton of longterm money at free agent pitchers. Look at Philadelphia and Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay.
People rail about the Red Sox and their money, but truth be told, they have a long history of splurging a lot of money on bad free agents — other than Curt Schilling and Manny Ramirez, can you name one Red Sox free agent who was really worth it? They have a long and sordid history of terrible signings — Dice-K, Matt Clements, Julio Lugo, J.D. Drew, John Lackey and many more.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers have new, aggressive ownership and are looking to make a big splash. Good luck to them. Gonzalez may work out great for them, but they are going to regret being saddled with Crawford and Beckett’s contracts, I guarantee it.
I think what the trade turned into was the Red Sox were in disbelief that the Dodgers were willing to take the terrible Beckett and Crawford contracts off their hands … and that all they had to give up was Gonzalez and his fat $21 million to get rid of that other $35 million of dead money.
The Red Sox get two solid (and cheap) pitching prospects — Rubby De La Rosa (who will pitch right away) and Allen Webster, who will probably stay in the minors this year. They also get a schmoe, James Loney, but that’s just to fill Gonzalez’s roster spot. The Red Sox desperately need to fix their pitching (23rd in ERA), did not do it in the off-season, and this is hopefully step one in getting a decent staff put back together again.
The Red Sox also free up a ton of money to re-sign free agents Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz, or possibly go after Josh Hamilton. Hamilton would like command a deal similar to Pujols — something on the order of $250 million over eight years.
If the Red Sox get rid of Bobby Valentine, almost guaranteed, there might be hope yet for them to pull out of this tailspin next year.