Fangraphs Dave Cameron just posted a rumoured trade involving Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto heading to Los Angeles, with a group of five players (including James Loney, Rubby de la Rosa, Jerry Sands, Ivan DeJesus and “a prospect”) headed back to Boston.
In trading away Gonzalez, Crawford, and Beckett, the team is instantly divesting itself of three of their largest financial commitments. Even ignoring the remainders of their 2012 salaries, the Red Sox owed Gonzalez an additional $127 million through 2018, Crawford was due $103 million through 2017, and Beckett had $32 million guaranteed through 2014. Just in 2013 and beyond salaries, the Red Sox are potentially dumping $262 million if they’re not sending along cash to help facilitate the deal.
Even if you think Adrian Gonzalez is a great first baseman — and he has been before and could be again — the Red Sox shouldn’t have too many problems replacing the lost production for $262 million. Even if the Dodgers hadn’t sent them any talent in return, just clearing these guys off the books makes this a worthwhile trade for Boston. This is a deal the Red Sox couldn’t walk away from even if the Dodgers were only offering some of Frank McCourt’s old hair spray. The Red Sox were given chance to start over with a clean slate, and the opportunity was just too good to pass up.
What a monster trade.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports had this take:
This is about the money. It always was about the money. The Red Sox found themselves in an untenable situation financially because Gonzalez’s and Crawford’s contracts hamstrung them not just now but through 2017. So they floated Gonzalez on waivers, found a taker, convinced that taker to swallow Crawford’s remaining $102.5 million and Beckett’s $31.5 million, finagled a pair of starting pitchers with high-octane fastballs and turned $106.9 million in commitments for next season into $45.6 million worth of 2013 obligations.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington saved his predecessor, Theo Epstein, from living down more than the Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey disasters. The allure of deep pockets can turn a rational GM into a reckless one. Even for a team like the Red Sox, who come close to selling out every home game, the principle of fiscal responsibility must be more than rhetoric. Sloppy contracts have permeated Boston’s roster since it last won the World Series in 2007.
Once the trade is official, its reshaping begins. Enough front-line pieces exist for the Red Sox to enter 2013 with hope, especially considering the depth and quality of their prospects and what the newfound financial freedom may afford them, be it Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke or whoever else fears not stepping into the terrordome that is present-day Boston baseball culture.
What more to say? Thoughts?