It became official this week that the Boston Red Sox have sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers for prospects Ivan De Jesus, Jerry Sands, Rubby De La Rosa, and Allen Webster. The Dodgers also dumped the underachieving first baseman James Loney to the Red Sox in order to open up the position for Gonzalez.
On paper this trade looks to be a huge win for the Dodgers, but when one takes a closer look, the trade has several major downsides for LA. First there’s Adrian Gonzalez. The slugger was impressive in his five years in San Diego averaging over 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in his tenure there. In 2011,Gonzalez hit 27 homers and failed to record over 30 home runs for the first time since 2006. This year the power has seemed to drop even further with Gonzalez collecting only 15 homers throughout 123 games. An even worse stat that is usually over looked are his walks. Gonzalez averaged over 100 walks in his final two seasons in San Diego, but he only managed 74 walks in 2011 and a terrible 31 walks this season. This move alone is a huge upgrade from James Loney who has only 4 home runs and 33 RBIs on the season while batting only .254. The move to bring in Gonzalez and send Loney packing is the smartest part of this blockbuster trade but it all goes downhill from there.
Josh Beckett is the scariest part of the trade for the Dodgers. I look at Beckett as not only a washed up crybaby, but a cancer in the clubhouse as well. We all remember he was one of the leaders of the beer and fried chicken crew that helped Boston underachieve last year which led to the firing of Terry Francona, the manager who brought Boston their first two World series titles in over 80 years. Most likely due to his partying while on the job, Beckett has posted an ERA over 5 in two of the past three seasons! He has also collected only 5 wins and 11 losses this season. It seems to me that the Dodgers are bringing in a big name and a less capable pitcher in the move to bring Beckett to LA. Although the Dodgers have made a few great moves during the season, they have shot themselves in the foot by bringing in the whiny Beckett and his large contract. LA gave up their second rated pitching prospect in Allen Webster in order to bring in an aging pitcher with a history of attitude problems and back injuries.
Then there’s Carl Crawford. Throughout his first nine seasons in the majors, Crawford proved to be one of the most dynamic players in the game. Crawford averaged 180 hits during his tenure in Tampa Bay and he collected over 45 stolen bases in seven of nine seasons with the Rays. Needless to say, Crawford has stunk it up in Boston, but this is mostly due to injury. In 2011, Crawford played in 130 games while collecting only 18 stolen bases, his lowest number since his rookie season when he stole only 9 bases but played only 63 games. He hit .255 which is the lowest of his career, while striking out 104 times, the second highest of his career. Crawford has proven to be a major waste of time and money for Boston who is most likely ecstatic to see him pack his bags for LA. The worst part of all for the Dodgers is that Crawford will miss the rest of the season due to an injury to his left elbow that he had surgically repaired on Thursday. The Tommy John surgery should sideline him for the entire 2013 season. Crawford has had problems with his left elbow and wrist during his time in Boston and I can’t imagine him ever being the same player he once was. For the money he is owed over the next few seasons, the acquisition of Crawford is a huge mistake for the Dodgers.
Nick Punto will be a solid bench/utility player for the Dodgers and I see it as a smart move to add him in this trade that is likely to spark a deep playoff run. The Dodgers will take on 262.5 million dollars in salary that follows these four players from Boston. Gonzalez will most likely thrive being back in the NL west where he made a name for himself, so his large salary will most likely prove to be worth it. I still cannot see Beckett or Crawford ever living up to their large contracts that they signed in Boston and I believe the Dodgers will regret bringing them in with Gonzalez in the near future. The arrival of prospects like De La Rosa and Webster will help Boston rebuild faster then most teams typically do and the 262.5 million they’ll save will definitely prove to be a major favoring factor. Only time will tell if the Dodgers huge move will pay off this postseason and in future seasons, but one thing is for sure, LA is spending a lot of money for a chance at a title, and it’s more encouraging to see them try instead of folding like they had done most of the Frank McCourt years.