| 4 years ago||
The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers have completed a blockbuster trade that sends Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to L.A. in a deal that sees the Red Sox parting with their biggest bat as a means of maximizing financial flexibility.
The Dodgers agreed to take on the contracts of Crawford and Beckett in order to acquire the slugging first baseman in Gonzalez, who will be returning to his Southern California roots.
The Dodgers made the announcement in a news release at 5 p.m. ET.
"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 the 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."
Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett are only two of the winners -- and losers -- of this deal,
Beckett (5-11, 5.23 ERA) had become the lightning rod of last September's epic collapse and had won just one of his past 13 starts. Crawford, after putting up career-low numbers in 2011, played in just 31 games this season because of wrist and elbow injuries, and on Thursday, he underwent Tommy John surgery.
The Red Sox owed Crawford and Beckett a combined $140 million, with close to $130 million owed to Gonzalez.
"The deal sheds us from tens of millions of dollars of long-term commitments," Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said Saturday morning before the trade became official. "It gets us great prospects who will improve our major league roster as soon as next year. It brings us a player in James Loney who was 'untouchable' a couple of years ago. It allows us to start over with free agents.
"We want to win for our fans and we now have huge financial flexibility to improve the team."
Pitcher Rubby De La Rosa will be headed back to Boston as the Dodgers' centerpiece of the deal, sources said. De La Rosa made his first major league appearance of the season Wednesday after undergoing Tommy John surgery about 13 months ago.
Also included are first baseman Loney and prospects Allen Webster (right-handed pitcher), Ivan De Jesus (infielder), and according to sources Jerry Sands (outfielder).
The Dodgers optioned De La Rosa to Double-A Chattanooga on Friday afternoon instead of Triple-A Albuquerque, as originally announced. Gonzalez was scratched prior to Friday's game and summoned to the clubhouse, along with Punto. Loney was a scratch as well, and was called to manager Don Mattingly's office.
Giving up Gonzalez is a shocking change of direction for the Red Sox, who in December 2010 traded two of their top prospects -- first baseman Anthony Rizzo and pitcher Casey Kelly -- to acquire the first baseman. Gonzalez is making $21 million this season, the first in a seven-year, $154 million extension he signed in April 2011.
But with the Red Sox essentially out of contention for a playoff spot and the Dodgers under new ownership, Los Angeles is aggressively making a strong bid to bolster its chances for this season and the future.
A Red Sox official, speaking on the condition of anonymity Thursday, insisted the Red Sox had no issues with Gonzalez on or off the field, but said the club was exploring all avenues to improve. Ridding itself of Gonzalez's salary might free up resources that would allow it to make significant improvements to a pitching staff that has significantly underperformed.
Gonzalez leads the Red Sox in batting average (.300), RBIs (86), on-base percentage (.343) and hits (145) this season.
The Red Sox and Dodgers broached a trade for Gonzalez at the July 31 non-waivers trade deadline, but sources with both clubs insisted the talks never got beyond the preliminary stage.
On Saturday in Boston, the Red Sox returned to their clubhouse to find empty lockers where Beckett, Gonzalez and Crawford stored their gear before they packed for Los Angeles.
Pitcher John Lackey had already claimed Beckett's locker and the others' were left with generic nameplates after the players cleared out Friday night and Saturday morning.
Gonzalez, a former San Diego Padres star, said on Twitter in English and Spanish that he was excited to get back to California. Beckett joined the social media site to thank Red Sox fans, and Punto posted a picture of the three of them on what appears to be a private jet with the caption, "(hash)dodgers doing it first class!"
The 2003 World Series MVP with the Florida Marlins, Beckett now moves from the home of Dunkin' Donuts to the land of In-N-Out Burger, bringing with him a pair of players who were not productive enough to justify their contracts.
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