Boston Red Sox Are Essentially Trading Adrian Gonzalez for a Brighter Future

Paul Francis Sullivan@@sullybaseballChief Writer IAugust 25, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 30:  Starting pitcher Josh Beckett #19 (L) of the Boston Red Sox pauses on the mound for a coaching visit after giving up an RBI double to John Jaso of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 30, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez #28 looks on. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The great trade that could change the very culture of the Boston Red Sox is still in a holding pattern.

But it must go through. Every Red Sox fan in the world should be praying to whomever they pray to in order to see it happen. It will be the move that starts in motion the construction of the next great Red Sox team.

According to virtually every news source, including Sports Illustrated, the Dodgers are about to bring Adrian Gonzalez into Chavez Ravine, along with Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto in a deal with the Red Sox.

It is a shame to let go of Adrian Gonzalez, who is one of the Red Sox's best hitters and seemed to have turned his season around recently. But Boston has to give up something to gain something.

The players the Red Sox will be getting back from Los Angeles are almost irrelevant. If this trade was a strict salary dump, it would have been worth it, even with Adrian Gonzalez.

As I previously wrote in Bleacher Report, this Red Sox team is more than a disappointing product on the field. It is repulsing the very fan base that made the Olde Towne Team such a part of New England life.

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There are very few members of the World Championship squads of 2004 and 2007 left. And the current team has alienated the Fenway Faithful to the point where empty seats are more and more visible at the ballpark.

This team is loathed by the fans. And the snub of Johnny Pesky's funeral (as reported by the Boston Herald) seemed to be the last straw. The team that seemed apathetic when they collapsed in 2011 has been unwatchable in 2012, with off-the-field pettiness dominating the headlines.

And in many ways the worst thing about the team was that they were probably going to put a similar product on the field next year.

Who was going to take Josh Beckett, with his miserable numbers and worse attitude and growing waistline as he grew older through 2014?

And Carl Crawford, a bust his first year and injured most of his second, was due to be paid like an elite player until the end of the 2017 season.

The Red Sox were in danger of becoming what the Mets morphed into after moving into CitiField: Old, expensive, bad and sticking around.

The specter of being rotten and unlikable for years to come, losing fans and games while shoveling out top dollar for washed-up players became a reality.

So did losing David Ortiz. The lone player from 2004 still playing and someone who cares enough about being a Red Sox that he showed up to honor Johnny Pesky was probably going to walk. Why? Because they have to pay Beckett and Crawford, of course.

Red Sox fans' resentment could easily turn into apathy regarding the prospect of the same loathed players not going anywhere. There would be no hope for a real rebuilding of the team.

Then the Dodgers came to the rescue.

Beckett, the one-time hero of the 2007 World Championship Marlins who had overstayed his welcome, could be gone along with most of his salary.

Crawford, the talented and classy player who never seemed comfortable in Boston and now has his body breaking down, could be gone along with most of his salary.

Two of the great figures of the collapse of 2011 removed. Payroll freed up. Opportunities to bring up young players and build a new Red Sox team moving forward are possible.

All it would really cost is Adrian Gonzalez.

The Dodgers are asking the Red Sox to trade their first baseman in exchange for hope, wiping the slate clean, and creating a Red Sox team that the fans can embrace.

It is a fair deal.

Red Sox fans, imagine rooting for a team with fewer Crawfords and Becketts and more Pedro Ciriacos and Will Middlebrookses. Imagine a team with young hungry players leaving their guts on the field rather than sneaking off for another beer and wing?

How much more fun would this season had been with young exciting players experiencing growing pains rather than watching this current unlikable squad?

All the Red Sox have to really give up on is a 30-year-old first baseman who will be paid as an elite player for the next six seasons.

No offense to Adrian Gonzalez, but if his stats continue to decline into his 30s, then dealing him and his contract will be a huge burden off of the Red Sox.

Besides it is easier to develop or acquire a first baseman than a pitcher or middle infielder.

And it is a lot easier to find a good first baseman than kick-start a rebuilding process that could give hope to an entire region.

The Red Sox management, after a year of blunders, finally has done something right. They are admitting that 2012 is a failure and that going into 2013 with the same game plan would be insane.

The trade should be listed in the transactions column as "Boston Red Sox trade first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and a lot of baggage to the Los Angeles Dodgers for some optimism to be named later."

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