Posted: Aug 25, 2012 9:04 PM by cbssports.com
LOS ANGELES - Simply put, it's one of the biggest, priciest and most sprawling trades in baseball history, and CBSSports.com Insider Jon Heyman reports that now it is done.
As anticipated, the Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, right-hander Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford and infielder Nick Punto from the Red Sox in exchange for first baseman James Loney, outfielder Jerry Sands, infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr., right-hander Rubby De La Rosa and frontline pitching prospect prospect Allen Webster. "We continue to do everything in our power to strengthen our team for the stretch drive in an effort to reach the postseason," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said in a statement. "This trade today exemplifies ownership's commitment to making the team as good as possible not only for 2012 but for many seasons to come."
Most notably from the Dodgers' standpoint, Gonzalez addresses a glaring weakness at first base. Although there's reason to be concerned about Gonzalez's power decline, Dodger first basemen (chiefly Loney and Juan Rivera) have been so unproductive this season that Gonzalez will surely be an upgrade. On the season, Gonzalez, age 30, is hitting .300/.343/.469 with 15 homers and 37 doubles.
Beckett has a 5.23 ERA in 127.1 innings pitched. While his days as a near-ace may be over, Beckett will surely benefit from getting out of the DH league (and the brutal AL East) and into pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium.
Crawford will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier this week. There's a possibility he could be ready for the start of the 2013 season, but it's doubtful he'd be 100% by opening day. The 31-year-old Crawford had a disappointing .711 OPS as a Red Sock, but his career numbers are stronger. As for Punto, the 34-year-old utility infielder is a liability at the plate but a plus defender at three different infield positions.
The most astounding part of this trade, though, is the money involved. Gonzalez is signed through 2018 and owed $127 million beyond this season. Crawford is locked up through 2017 and owed $102.5 million. Beckett's contract, meanwhile, runs through 2014 and pays him another $31.5 million beyond the current season.
Most surprising of all is that, as noted, Heyman reports the Red Sox are including only about $12 million cash in the deal. The upshot is that the Dodgers are taking on almost $250 million in salary commitments. That's a stunning development for a franchise that was in bankruptcy mere months ago. In fact, since July 25 the Dodgers under new ownership have added, among others, Gonzalez, Beckett, Crawford, Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton and Brandon League.