Somebody in Boston needs to go make sure that the Red Sox ownership hasn't had Fenway imploded overnight as another step in the dramatic reset of the team, that took place on Friday and was made official this morning.
Gone are Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto and Carl Crawford, along with around $260 million remaining on their contracts. Coming from the Dodgers are prospects and most importantly, a fresh start without the malaise that hovered over Fenway all season.
The Dodgers - in an aggressive almost to the point of insanity - decision finish the one season total transformation of their team from hopeless and broke, to rich, stacked, contenders. Teams usually trade relievers and bench players during the waiver trade period, this blockbuster would have been shocking even by normal trade deadline standards.
The Guggenheim Baseball Management group is not messing around. I'm not saying that they're evil or secretly run by Cobra Commander, but wouldn't a world takeover plan that started with America's pastime be particularly diabolical? Especially after Bane fired the first shots in evildoer versus American sports this summer. Either way, since purchasing the team from deadbeat, wack job, Frank McCourt in May, they've added Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford, and all the money on the long term deals all but Victorino bring. It's certainly a bold move, but perhaps foolhardy too. The Red Sox were willing to move Adrian Gonzalez just to get out from under the crushing weight of Crawford and Beckett's contracts and because Gonzalez probably isn't going to live up to the $127 million left on his deal. He only has 15 homers on the season, following a lackluster second half to 2011. That's the pessimists take though, an optimist says this team went from maybe the worst in the league during the culmination of last season's McCourt disaster, to a legitimate powerhouse. The lineup is now among the deepest in the league with Kemp/Ethier/Ramirez/Gonzalez/Victorino, bringing scary AL power to the NL West. Facing NL West lineups could help rejuvenate Beckett, bringing further fortifying the team for the pennant race.
The Red Sox get some great prospects in this deal, which is the icing on the chance to blow up a toxic team and freedom to move forward in a different direction. The Sox are like a guy who just got out of a bad marriage. The situation had become untenable with the current group. The Sox were sitting at under .500 going into September, with a failed pitching staff and the money to fix that issue tied up in guys like Crawford who was nothing less than a complete disaster with the team. Now, in one brilliant move, Ben Cherington gets to remake the team as he sees fit and hopefully put a product on the field that the fans can stomach. The Sox get to have fun and spend lavishly surrounded by some hopefully rejuvenating youthfulness, like a newly divorced guy throwing around money to sleep with girls 20 years his junior. The team might finally be fun again.
Crawford was a disaster right from the beginning. A guy that couldn't hack it in a major market and was looking at $102.5 million coming his way as he comes off Tommy John surgery and two horrible seasons. Beckett had become the media and fan punching bag. The guy who could never say the right thing, didn't seem interested in saying the right thing, and had fallen from World Series hero to 2011 collapse scapegoat and 2012 whipping boy. A guy that couldn't get rushed out of Boston fast enough, even if that says as much about Boston media and fans as it does about Beckett. Gonzalez is an interesting case, he's probably going to hit, back in Southern California and the NL. The Dodgers were smart, assuming money is no object, to assume the Crawford/Beckett contract burdens just to get Gonzalez and pair him with Hanley and Kemp. He didn't fit in Boston though. Didn't step up and control the clubhouse, didn't get along with Bobby Valentine, didn't help stop the disgraceful stories surrounding this team all season, and frankly didn't hit like he had in San Diego. In the case of Gonzalez, this trade is probably a win-win-win for the Dodgers, Sox and Gonzalez himself.
Make no mistake about it, the Red Sox made this trade to clear the decks, which is why it's insane that they also grabbed two of the Dodgers best pitching prospects in Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster. Both project as potential rotation mainstays and even aces if you are dreaming a little. That type of haul typically doesn't come back when the team sending the prospects is assuming a small African countries' worth of payroll. It's a blowup and rebuild all in one move. Ben Cherington got off to a shaky start with his Reddick/Bailey and Lowrie/Melancon trades, now just when you think he couldn't get any dumber, he goes out and totally redeems himself.
The astute Red Sox observer, could have read "this article from Saturday" on all but four players no-showing Johnny Pesky's funeral and seen the writing for a trade like this on the wall. It was clearly the straw that broke the camels back, in a season that has devolved into a non-stop shit show of doom and gloom reporting on the state of the team and the relationships in the locker room. Obviously planted by Ownership, a staple of the post 2007 Red Sox, the perceived slight of Pesky, a Sox mainstay and legend, finally signaled the end of this ill fitting and misconceived group.
Red Sox fans on Twitter and Facebook seem almost universally happy with the trade, somewhat perplexing considering this likely signals a few down years of rebuilding and perhaps also the upcoming end to the Big Papi era in Fenway. Usually a total tear down is met with hand wringing and complaints. The attitude around Boston towards this trade, shows how malignant feelings towards this group had become. Even if the fact that this move signals Ownerships official backing of Bobby Valentine, a terrifying thought.
From a fantasy perspective, this trade is great news for owners of almost all involved, except James Loney. And if you are playing James Loney, you aren't making the playoffs anyways. Gonzalez is free to rake throughout the fantasy playoffs, facing a division he is already comfortable with. Beckett wasn't going to bounce back in Boston, he could in LA, facing the 7-8-pitcher combos in the NL. Kemp, Ramirez and Ethier get more RBI and run opportunities. NL only league owners with waiver priority or remaining budge are suddenly looking at Christmas in August. The only losers are AL only Gonzalez owners and what a blow that is coming this late in the season.
Related: Dodgers-Red Sox Trade, Making Sense of a $250M Deal
Written by Ryan Coombs exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. Follow Ryan on Twitter @RMCoombs.
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