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Now here’s where the deal gets tricky: the climax of the Hollywood blockbuster brought about in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers management quickly realized that they were a perfect suitor for the Boston Red Sox, who were looking to unload many of their more extreme salaries after one of the most disappointing seasons in Boston sports history.
After spending Yankee-like money on Adrian Gonzalez (7-year, $154-million, signed in 2011), Carl Crawford (7-year, $142-million, signed in 2010), and Josh Beckett (4-year, $68-million, signed in 2010), the Red Sox knew they needed to blow up the ship or the future of their franchise would be in jeopardy.
With an atrocious record (59-66, 13.5 GB of the New York Yankees), their salaries were only preventing them from improving in the future. It was the time to unload some talent.
Recall the fact that the Giants swept the Dodgers and you may be aware that the team with the worse record gets first claim on a player once he is put on waivers. Usually, a rival team would step in to block a division rival from acquiring a top player from waivers. Unfortunately for the Giants, they were unable to do that because the Dodgers had a priority bid for the Red Sox players. Thank you for the sweep, San Francisco!
The Los Angeles Dodgers would also owe another thank you to Carlos Lee, who recently vetoed a deal that would send him to Los Angeles because he didn't like the market and they were on his no-trade list. Had Lee accepted the deal, there would have been no roster room to make this deal go through for Los Angeles.
For whatever reason, the cosmic forces of the universe wanted the Mexican-born Gonzalez in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers initially claimed Adrian Gonzalez (.300, .469 slugging percentage, 15 HRs) with hopes to improve his scenery and put him in a different market. He would also be a huge improvement over James Loney (.254, .344 slugging, 4 HR’s) at first base.
The Red Sox, who felt that the deal would not be enough to help their finances, also wanted to throw in stars Carl Crawford (who just had Tommy John surgery and could miss time next season) and Josh Beckett (5-11, 5.23 ERA and who many believe to be over the hill) as well as Nick Punto. The deal was first reported by ESPN Boston Writer Gordon Eddes.
"Hopefully this deal will go through today," said Red Sox chairman Tom Werner on Saturday morning. "If it falls into place, the deal sheds us from tens of millions of dollars of long-term commitments. It gets us great prospects who will improve our major league roster as soon as next year. It brings us a player in James Loney who was 'untouchable' a couple of years ago. It allows us to start over with free agents. We want to win for our fans and we now have huge financial flexibility to improve the team."
The Dodgers would send RHP Ruby De La Rosa, 1B James Loney, OF Jerry Sands, and infielder Ivan De Jesus as well as a player to be named later (expected to be Allen Webster). To help the deal goal through, the Red Sox are believed to be sending cash as well.
As Los Angeles Times writer Bill Shaikin observed: “Total remaining salary for Gonzalez, Crawford, Beckett, Punto = $271 million. Amount McCourt paid to buy #Dodgers = $321 million. New day.”
A new day indeed for Los Angeles sports.