UPDATE, 6:15 p.m. ET:
According to ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes, in the deal that's currently being discussed—and is reportedly "close," tweets Fox Sports' Jon Morosi—the Red Sox would get young right-hander Rubby De La Rosa, infielder Ivan De Jesus, 1B/OF prospect Jerry Sands and first baseman James Loney in return for a package of Gonzalez, Beckett, Crawford and utility man Nick Punto.
We'll keep you updated as more comes in.
UPDATE, 5:53 p.m. ET:
Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston is reporting that in addition to Adrian Gonzalez, the Los Angeles Dodgers are discussing a deal with the Red Sox that could also bring the underachieving Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to Chavez Ravine:
Blockbuster: red Sox, Dodgers working on deal that would send AGon, Crawford, Beckett and Punto to LA. Hurdles remain, but closing in— Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes) August 24, 2012
It's unclear at this point what a trade along these lines would bring the Red Sox in return, but what is obvious is that GM Ben Cherington is willing to effectively give up on the rest of the season to build for the future.
As Craig Calcaterra of NBCSports.com suggests, "That’s around $300 million in players who aren’t as good as the Red Sox needed them to be on the verge of being shoved out the door," so to say it's a cost-cutting measure on Boston's part would be the understatement of the season.
We'll keep you posted as updates to these astounding trade talks come in.
Much like the rumblings of the Philadelphia Phillies possibly trading Cliff Lee to the Los Angeles Dodgers around the July 31 trade deadline, rumors of the Dodgers somehow acquiring Adrian Gonzalez from the Boston Red Sox keep buzzing around.
In early August, the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy blurted out that the Red Sox could have traded Gonzalez to the Dodgers, paying no attention to the particulars involved in such a deal. According to Shaughnessy, the Red Sox could have gotten "a bunch of players who could help build for the future." Boy, that sure sounds like it would've been great.
Almost three weeks later, the Los Angeles Times' Steve Dilbeck attempted to dream up a scenario in which the Dodgers could get Gonzalez. At least Dilbeck maintains some credibility by acknowledging his idea is essentially fantasy baseball rather than try to pass off some rumor as insider information without even displaying a working knowledge of how such a trade could be arranged.
Before we delve deeper into Dilbeck's dream trade, let's first establish that Gonzalez could indeed be traded to the Dodgers. As of 1:48 p.m. ET on Friday (Aug. 24), the L.A. Times' Bill Shaikin reported that the Dodgers won the waiver claim on Gonzalez, who was placed on waivers two days ago by the Red Sox.
That leaves the Dodgers and Red Sox 48 hours to work out a trade involving Gonzalez.
Either that or the Dodgers are challenging the Red Sox to think strongly about just letting Gonzalez and the remaining $130 million on his contract through 2018 go. That's essentially what the Dodgers had in mind when claiming Lee in early August after the Phillies put him on waivers.
The Red Sox also have the option of pulling Gonzalez back off waivers and keeping him.
Putting players with big contracts on waivers is basically standard operating procedure at this time of year. A team never knows who might put in a claim on a particular player and could end up making a deal it hadn't previously considered. Also, by seeing who puts in a claim, a general manager knows he might have a trading partner for that player during the offseason.
If the Red Sox have considered trying to trade Gonzalez to clear his bloated contract off their payroll, the Dodgers are presenting them with an ideal situation to do so. The only downside for Boston is that it probably wouldn't get a top prospect from the Dodgers if Los Angeles agreed to take on the full value of Gonzalez's contract.
That's the currency with which the Dodgers are working right now.
"We can take on significant money," team chairman Mark Walter told the L.A. Times' Dylan Hernandez.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has no interest in trading away any of his best minor league prospects. Though, realistically, he would have to part with at least a couple—Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster were two mentioned by Dilbeck—to make this deal happen.
The way the Dodgers are trying to game the system, if you will, is by taking on huge contracts that teams would prefer not to pay out any longer. They're almost like the Fantastic Four villain Galactus, willing to eat any planetary mass placed in front of it to gain strength. Now the Dodgers just need to find some star players whose contracts can feed their appetite.
But in Dilbeck's dream scenario, the Red Sox would put all of their bad contracts and unwanted players—including Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford—on a long table, lift up one end of the table and just let all of that money slide down into the wide-open mouth (probably with unhinged jaw) of the Dodgers' remarkably absorbent budget.
For the Dodgers, the price of acquiring Gonzalez and Beckett would be also taking on Crawford. He'd basically be a throw-in—a $102.5 million throw-in, mind you—much like Mike Lowell was when the Marlins traded Beckett to the Red Sox or Dontrelle Willis when Miguel Cabrera was dealt to the Tigers.
As Hernandez points out in his game recap of the Dodgers' 8-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday (Aug. 22) that finished off a crushing three-game sweep, Los Angeles only scored six runs in the series.
That's the sort of offensive performance that might make Colletti and ownership desperate enough to get Gonzalez at (literally) all costs. Beckett would also provide the strong No. 2 starting pitcher needed behind Clayton Kershaw.
For the Red Sox, any return they receive for giving up Gonzalez, Beckett and Crawford will look paltry no matter how highly regarded the prospects are by Colletti, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and every minor league expert.
(Additionally, those players might have to be named later because they would have to clear waivers, as noted by the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham.)
But the Boston front office and coaching staff would be able to clear out much of the baggage and insubordinate attitudes currently poisoning the team clubhouse and igniting every little incident into a media bonfire. Cherington and manager Bobby Valentine will get the team that they should have had coming in to this season.
As Abraham pointed out on Twitter, shedding all that money would provide enough payroll flexibility to bring in a needed outfielder or two and a starting pitcher. Jarrod Saltalamacchia could replace Gonzalez at first base, clearing the way for catching prospect Ryan Lavarnway to play full time.
The entire concept of the trade seems outlandish and absurd at first glance, but it would actually be a win-win for the Dodgers and Red Sox. Dilbeck sounded crazy when he proposed the trade, but maybe it's just crazy enough to actually work.
Of course, the Dodgers could just settle for getting Gonzalez, which would still provide significant wiggle room in the Red Sox's budget and get rid of a player who reportedly doesn't much care for Valentine. But after looking at the other possibilities, that would almost seem anticlimactic.
The Dodgers want to go big or they risk going home for the fall.
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