Magic Johnson and Co. just fired a gigantic cannon shot across the big league’s bow.
In a stunning development, the Los Angeles Dodgers just pulled the trigger on a mega deal that may very well thrust this proud National League franchise into the World Series.
Friday, Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported the Dodgers agreed in principle with the Boston Red Sox on a trade to acquire Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto.
Boston included money in the deal, but also received five players: James Loney, Ivan DeJesus, Jerry Sands, Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa.
While the trade is pending physicals, waiving of no-trade clauses, financial terms etc., Boston is now able to unload more than $250 million in salaries owed.
This, just a few months after World Series dreams began unraveling in Beantown.
Give the Dodgers a reality television show; if you are a Red Sox fan this move may be seen as a good move toward future growth. On the negative side, it may also be seen as Boston GM Ben Cherington waving the white flag on this season.
Yet to the West Coast, if you are a Dodgers fan you have to be ecstatic with this blockbuster move—especially when one considers the circumstances.
Fresh off a three-game sweep by the San Francisco Giants (70-55), the Dodgers (67-58) sit three games behind Bruce Bochy and Co. in the NL West division.
In the NL Wild Card race, L.A. is two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals (69-56) for the second and final postseason spot.
But oh how NL power has shifted.
With one swift swoop, the Dodgers acquired four veteran players that have to be enjoying a breath of fresh air on this night.
Offensively, the Dodgers' lineup transforms from anemic to downright nightmarish—barring injury.
While it is true Crawford will not be able to help Don Mattingly’s club down the stretch run toward the postseason, Gonzalez, Beckett and Punto most certainly will.
The same team that is 25th in the MLB in runs scored and 20th in batting average now boasts a lineup that features Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp.
And when Crawford returns from Tommy John surgery next spring, National League pitchers beware.
Then there is L.A.’s pitching, which is already third-best in baseball (3.37 team ERA), per ESPN stats.
Talk about exciting, adding Beckett to the mix enables the Dodgers to bolster a rotation that already boasts Clayton Kershaw (11-7/2.87 ERA), Chad Billingsley (10-9/3.44 ERA), Chris Capuano (11-9/3.37), and Aaron Harang (9-7/3.65 ERA).
With Joe Blanton perhaps being the sacrificial lamb in this thing, it will be very interesting to see if Beckett’s performance suddenly skyrockets in the midst of a fresh start on a new team fighting for the playoffs.
By the way, has anyone noticed Billingsley is a scorching 6-0 with a 1.30 ERA since the All-Star break? He is the hottest pitcher in baseball, arguably alongside Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez (6-0/1.41 ERA plus a perfect game).
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. With this bold move, it becomes ironclad tough to argue against the Dodgers not just making the postseason, but also reaching the World Series.
The Dodgers now have potent hitting to match excellent pitching. And with A-Gon’s career .995 fielding percentage at first base, L.A.’s lower-middle-of-the-pack defense is sure to improve.
But as we saw in 2010, a very proud baseball team down the road called the Giants has a way of sticking gigantic wrenches into the meteoric plans of high-priced MLB franchises.
And that is the beauty of baseball.