The Los Angeles Dodgers are going all in. The Boston Red Sox are cutting their losses and cashing out. That’s pretty much the only way to explain what’s motivating two behemoths in the sport of baseball to work out a deal that will essentially send all of Boston’s big name, high-dollar players to the West Coast, and simultaneously force Los Angeles to eat almost $250 million in salaries.
Everyone knew heading into Friday that L.A. wanted a first baseman, and that they particularly coveted Adrian Gonzalez. What folks may have underestimated, though, was just how badly they wanted him. Late yesterday afternoon we all found out together.
Here is the deal that Magic Johnson and the rest of his Dodgers ownership group agreed to, more or less just for the right to add Gonzalez to their roster (via CBS Sports):
Though some administrative details remain, multiple sources with knowledge of the talks said Friday that the two clubs have agreed to the parameters of a trade in which Boston will send first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, starter Josh Beckett, injured outfielder Carl Crawford and infielder Nick Punto to the Dodgers in exchange for first baseman James Loney, outfielder Jerry Sands, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr., right-hander Rubby De La Rosaand a prospect, right-hander Allen Webster, who was tabbed as No. 2 prospect in the Dodgers' system this year by Baseball America.
Beckett and Crawford waived their no-trade powers late Friday night, sources told Heyman, clearing significant hurdles out of the way for the deal to be done soon. A source suggested late Friday that Beckett's physical is among the last items that need to be concluded Saturday before the deal is finalized, with a slight chance that that could cause the deal to leak into Sunday before it is done. Beckett was pulled from his scheduled start Saturday night vs. Kansas City in favor of Aaron Cook.
Could Beckett and Crawford experience resurgences in a new, less toxic environment? Sure. But it’s hard to believe that L.A. is betting on that. More likely is that management took a look at what Gonzalez brings to the table and decided his pluses outweigh those guys’ minuses. They figured that if they can steal some of the spotlight away from the Lakers and Angels en route to a championship run, given what they've already invested into this franchise, the cost is worth it. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not the gamble pays off.
On the other side of the equation, this is the Red Sox finally coming to terms with the fact that they suck. That their roster was comprised of overpaid, underperforming babies who were poisoning everyone and everything in their path. A change needed to be made. This is a reprieve for Bobby Valentine, and a signal to the fans that it's time to stop pretending this team can just reload. It can't.
There is going to be a lot of talk in the next few days about how $250 million is a lot to spend on a first baseman. You’ll hear chatter about how a bunch of guys who overpaid for the Dodgers in the first place are now just doubling down on that mistake. Tune that nonsense out as soon as you hear it. Yes, this deal looks and sounds crazy – but Magic and his co-owners aren’t just some guys. They’re not idiots who are spending money for the sake of spending money. They have a vision for what the Dodgers can become. They understand that, under Frank McCourt’s rule, L.A. wasn’t tapping into a market that they could have and should have been tapping into. They see the potential to make the Dodgers into something special not for where they’re located, but for who they are.
Stay tuned, it's going to be an interesting few months.
(Kudos CBS Sports)