Even though 2012 has been a dreadful season for the team and its fans, it is commonplace for GM’s to at least listen to what teams are willing to offer in potential blockbuster deals.
Ben Cherington did his job and listened to offers, but in the end the Dodgers weren’t offering the type of package needed to pull the trigger in year two of the Adrian Gonzalez experiment.
Fans may be concerned that the talks could upset one of the few players on the team that is performing well in the second half, but Gonzalez is a veteran player and knows what goes on around the trade deadline.
Gonzalez was quoted by the Boston Herald as saying “Teams are going to ask for any player they think will help their team win.”
Gonzalez added. “I’ve been traded three times now and I know what rumors are all about. Teams are going to call and check in on players. I know how the whole baseball end of it works.”
A trade with the Dodgers would have been a blockbuster since the Red Sox would have asked for a massive haul in return for a middle-of-the-order bat and someone they just traded three highly coveted prospects for less than two years ago.
The Dodgers are under new ownership and seem to be interested in acquiring as many stars as they can. They have already traded for former Red Sox shortstop Hanley Ramirez and Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino and attempted to trade for Cliff Lee.
Who needs to be traded?
Gonzalez would have been perfect for the Dodgers, who need a boost at first base. James Loney is having the worst season since becoming a full-time starter batting .251 with just two home runs as of August 15. Though Gonzalez has yet to show the power many expected, he is still batting .307 and is a gold glove-winning first baseman.
It is unknown what the offers were and Chris Cwik noted that the talks never got to the serious stage.
The Red Sox most likely wanted to not only unload Gonzalez’s large contract, but they would have wanted the Dodgers to take on Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett or John Lackey in order to shed future payroll.
It is understandable to be concerned about upsetting star players, but with the Red Sox being 57-60, 12.5 games back from the Yankees in the East and 6.5 games out of the second wild card spot, focus needs to be on the under-performing pitching staff.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports has reported that Gonzalez was behind a July 26 meeting where players and ownership discussed issues with manager Bobby Valentine. It is not known whether or not the trade talks with the Dodgers, which happened just days later, were due to Gonzalez’s role in the meeting.
At this point in the season, with the team struggling and the collapse in 2011, management needs to be open to any and all ideas to improve the Red Sox this season and moving forward.
The Red Sox seem to lack leadership, and Gonzalez, who is the team’s highest-paid player is not known to be a leader. Speculation will continue if the Red Sox continue to struggle, but the Boston's star first baseman will continue to perform no matter what he hears.
No bridges were burned because of the talks with the Dodgers. However, the Red Sox need to continue to pursue ways to get better, and they should push hard to improve their pitching staff starting with trading Josh Beckett who’s 5-10 record and 5.19 ERA should concern management.
Gonzalez may not be a leader and he has yet to consistently hit for power in Boston, but in 274 games with the Red Sox he has hit .325 and drove in 197 RBI. Trading Gonzalez may please some fans, but those numbers will be extremely hard to duplicate.