The Blockbuster MLB Trade Between the Red Sox and Dodgers: A Win/Win For Both Teams
Monday August 27th, 2012
Robert Whitmer: $250,000,000 is a lot of money. I know for a fact that it is more than I will ever see in my life from all my years of working combined. It is more than 18 countries in the world have in annual gross national product. It is enough money to buy the most expensive house in the world except 2 and still be able to afford the most expensive car in the world. Before we explore what the significance of that $250,000,000, let’s back up to how we came about this situation to even be discussing this obscene amount of money. There was this time in 2004 when something happened that hadn’t happened in 86 years, but three years later in 2007 it happened again. After 2007 and having an even happen twice in three years without it happening in the previous 86, the powers that be wanted to insure that it would continue to happen. To ensure this, the Boston Red Sox decided that they would attempt to buy their way to a championship like the division rival Yankees have done in the past. So the spending spree began, and if there is one thing in the world that is universal and never lies it is numbers. Let’s cover them.
2008 started the decline of the Red Sox team. They made the playoffs in 2008 but lost to the Rays in the ALCS. In 2009 they lost in the first round to the Angels. Here is how I can imagine the conversation going between Theo Epstein the GM and John Henry the Owner of the Sox.
John: So uh, Theo, what happened out there this year?
Theo: I don’t know… we had a good team, I think the injuries got us.
John: Well why don’t we spend money like the Yankees. It seems to be working for them since they just won the World Series.
Theo did as he was told and went and spent money to buy a team that could take them back to the Promised Land. They went and spent roughly $480,000,000 dollars on players that they felt would win championships for them. That money was divided between Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzales, John Lackey, Mike Cameron, and Victor Martinez. These men were the chosen ones who were brought to the team and paraded around as the group that would turn baseball and Boston around and take it back to the World Series again. Combined with Josh Beckett who was already on the team from the 2007 World Series, and signed a $17,000,000 a year contract before the 2011 season, Boston was set and ready to go. Plays are not always executed the way that they are drawn up though. Cameron and Martinez left through free agency after the 2010 season to the greener pastures on the other side. John Lackey pitched terribly in 2011 finishing with a record of 12-12 and an ERA over 6.00 which led to him having Tommy John surgery after the season.
Bones are very important to the body. They are what give the skin structure and encase the essential part of the body that makes the necessary blood from the bone marrow. Bones are what the muscles, ligaments, and tendons attach themselves to in order move the bones and make the body work. Without bones we would be limp pieces of skin, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. There would be no shape or form. Such is the same with baseball teams. They must have the bones of support which are the players in order to add the right pieces to the mix to form the complete organism of bones, muscle, ligaments, and tendons. There come times, however, when those muscles, ligaments, and tendons, when not functioning properly, must be stripped away leaving just the bare bones, and rebuild the body completely. In 2012 the Boston Red Sox had a body, a team, which wasn’t functioning together. They had the muscles that were trying to go the opposite way of the bones.
On paper, this should have been a team that at least made the post season if not contend for a division crown at the beginning of the season. Early in the season you could tell looking from the outside in that this was not going to be the case. If you watched them play you could see that it just wasn’t on the right track. After a disagreement with manager Bobby Valentine the team favorite Kevin Youkilis was then traded to the Chicago White Sox for two minor league players. Thus commenced “The Curse of the Youk.” (If you would like more information on the curse of the youk, ask @rwhitmer, @mlbreports, or @ChuckBooth3024). After this trade it seemed as if the entire team started to fall apart. Crawford and Ellsbury came off the disabled list but continued to put up less than spectacular numbers. The team continued to lose and management continued to get pressure to do something after they let the non-waiver trade deadline pass with no action. July 24th is when the poo poo finally hit the fan.
I had just stepped out of work and looked at my phone when I saw it. My first tweet was asking if this was true that Adrian Gonzales had been put on waivers. The responses that I got were shocking. I was informed that it was indeed true and that Josh Beckett was also on waivers. Then, as the afternoon continued, I saw that Crawford was also involved in the waiver trade to a team that had yet to be named. Then the other shoe dropped when we found out who the team was. Yeah that’s one team, not two or three. The Red Sox were working out a trade with the Dodgers for not only Gonzales but Crawford and Beckett too not to mention the Sox tossing in Nick Punto for good measure. Then came the speculation on who the Sox would get back. Would it be Hanley Ramirez? Would it be James Loney? Saturday afternoon when the deal was complete we found out that the Sox were getting James Loney, pitcher Allen Webster, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr. and two players to be named later. Who got the better end of this deal? Let us examine that. We will start with the Dodgers.
The Dodgers were already a good team. They had an ownership change that vowed to restore the franchise to its former glory no matter what the cost. With this trade, they showed that they weren’t just talking out of their rear ends; they actually meant what they said. Let’s take a look at their batting line up that they can put out there now 1 through 8. Victorino, Ramirez, Kemp, Gonzales, Ethier, Cruz, M. Ellis, A. Ellis. That is a pretty deep line up. One through five hitters could be stars on any other team but they are all here on the same roster. Think of when they get Crawford back off the DL next year. Those hitters combined with the rotation of Kershaw, Capuano, Harang, Blanton, and Beckett; you have a very dangerous team with the possibility of Beckett coming out of the bullpen in the playoffs when the teams go down to a three or four man rotation. Scary, isn’t it? I would say that they just became the team to watch out for in the NL if not this year, definitely next year.
The Red Sox, however, is the team that got the best result out of this trade and it doesn’t even come from the players that they got in return. The Sox cleared over 250 million dollars of cap room that they can use this off-season to sign some free agents. Let’s see how we can use that money with the, as of today, upcoming free agents. The needs for the team are left field, first base, and starting pitching. First and foremost we know that Josh Hamilton is going to be a free agent. I don’t think he will take an offer right off the top from the Rangers because he wants to test the waters. If the Sox are to make a serious push for him they will need to commit a good $20 to $25 million a year to him and at a 7-year deal like he wants, that’s already $140 of the $250 you freed up in the trade.
Let’s look at starting pitching. I would look to target Anibal Sanchez and Colby Lewis. Paying Sanchez $7 million for 5 years and Lewis $4 million for 5 years (depending on health and if the Rangers let him go), along with Lester, Buchholtz, and Lackey make for a pretty good rotation and you can let Dice-K go. Now we have $90 million to spend on first base and re-signing David Ortiz. Papi is going to need at least a one year $10 million contract for the 37-year-old DH, but he could get $12-$15 million per season on a multi-year deal as well. Down to $80 million now and there is not really a clear-cut first baseman that I would want ahead of Loney. If his numbers continue the way they are right now, you should be able to snag him for a mid-level contract of about 3 years at $5 million a year. A bargain if he finally reaches his potential. Then they need to use the rest of the $65 million to improve their bullpen and pay Jacoby Ellsbury whatever he wants to have him stay.
Remember we talked about the bones. That’s where the Sox are at now. Building this team again is not going to be an overnight success story. What I have proposed is a temporary fix, while they invest in their farm system. If you look at their World Series wins, those Red Sox teams had players that came up through their farm system. They need to get back to that point if they want to be successful again. Is it going to be a painful time for Red Sox fans for the rest of this year and probably next year. Yes, it will be. But just remember this Sox fans; IT WAS NECESSARY. I know that you will be cussing out the team from your couches, recliners, or if you’re lucky enough and can afford the ticket, your seat at Fenway. But remember that this is exactly what we went through before 2004 happened. We had to let players season in the minors. You see a baseball player is just like a steak that you want to marinade. If you don’t wait long enough, it won’t be nice and tasty, when you’re ready to enjoy it. So let them sit Sox fans. Trust me, it will be worth the wait.
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***Today’s feature was prepared by Robert Whitmer, MLB reports Baseball Writer. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Robert on Twitter (@rwhitmer)***
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Posted on August 27, 2012, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged adrian gonzalez, allen webster, andre ethier, baseball, blockbuster, boston red sox, carl crawford, clayton kershaw, john lackey, josh beckett, los angeles dodgers, magic johnson, matt kemp, mlb, nick punto, theo epstein, trade, victor martinez. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.