Whereas the Marlins spent the offseason—where there were no games being played—signing Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes in an attempt to boost their bullpen, pitching staff and lineup into playoff-caliber worthiness, the Dodgers have made all their moves in-season (before the trading deadline and now through waivers).
Ever since Frank McCourt's Dodgers were taken over by new principal owner, Mark Walter, and ex-Laker legend Magic Johnson, they have been on a spending spree like never seen before. Even the New York Yankees would be envious of their fiscal freedom.
They've absorbed the contracts of Hanley Ramirez, Joe Blanton, Randy Choate and Brandon League all at the trading deadline. Now, the Boston Red Sox sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers for James Loney, several prospects and cash.
So what does this mean for the Red Sox? Well, they'll be looking to start over after a tumultuous season in which Bobby Valentine has been the center of attention for allegedly calling out Kevin Youkilis and losing the players' attention all season. Consistently hovering under .500 also doesn't help that fact.
The deal assumes that the Red Sox are letting the Dodgers absorb over $261 million of which Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett are to be paid in the coming years. That amount of money coming off the books can help the Red Sox take aim at any free agent they want.
They also get top prospects Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, who, besides the money going away, are the linchpins of this trade. Allen Webster being a top-100 prospect in all of MLB this season and De La Rosa who can pop 100 mph and owns a plus slider and also a top-100 prospect in 2011.
They can also spend the money this offseason on notable players like Mike Napoli, B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Melky Cabrera, Torii Hunter, Nick Swisher and Josh Hamilton, just to name a few. All in all, they did well to snatch one top prospect and another potentially impact prospect and minor league fill-ins in Jerry Sands and Ivan De Jesus while ridding themselves of the undesirable contracts of Crawford, Beckett and Gonzalez.
This does mean that first-year manager Bobby Valentine will presumably stay and try to rebuild the team with the remaining players like David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia. However, with their bitter rivals New York Yankees, streaking Tampa Rays who seem to be in the thick of the race annually despite their minuscule payroll and up-and-coming clubs in Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, it's hard to see the Red Sox contending any time soon.
How about the Dodgers? Still behind in the NL West race and the Wild Card race, they are attempting to buy a top of the order that will potentially look like Victorino-Ethier-Kemp-Hanley-Gonzalez. Down years from the newcomers Gonzalez, Beckett and also Hanley Ramirez but from a broadened perspective, are ultimately a force to be reckoned with.
This deal not only affects the Dodgers' present situation, but the future as well. While the Red Sox purged themselves of a boatload of money, it would appear that the Dodgers feel they can spend however much they want as long as they can push a winning product on the field.
But is it fiscally responsible?
One would think that while they can spend money, $261 million at the end of the day is still $261 million, and they may have put themselves out of the running for free agent Josh Hamilton in order to make a run at the playoffs. However, it may be that new ownership just does not care as long as they can obtain potential superstars.
But taking a deeper look into their acquisitions shows that while Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett have received large contracts, they have produced nothing that justifies it. Crawford is currently done for the season with an elbow injury that requires Tommy John surgery, and Josh Beckett is making questionable decisions amidst a terrible year.
The one saving grace may be the first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who, despite being in a down year (by his standards), has recovered post-All Star break with a .378 OBP and nine homers (and another homer coming in his Dodger debut).
While the Red Sox look to start anew after a year to forget, the Dodgers seem to care more about contending now and dealing with the repercussions later. Of course, they can win the World Series despite their pitching woes (most recently Chad Billingsley), or they may have to face a decision like the Miami Marlins next year when all of this blows up in their faces.
Either way, the Dodgers are focused on winning now and the Red Sox are rebuilding. How often do we say that every decade?
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