The Red Sox and Dodgers are on the brink of the biggest post-deadline trade ever
The deal is nothing but a rumor right now, but there are a few things we know for sure, and a few things we THINK we know.
What we know: The Dodgers have claimed Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett off of waivers. This means that the Red Sox have a few options. They can work out a trade with the Dodgers for one or both of them, they can simply allow the Dodgers to have them outright, or they can pull them back from waivers and move on, business as usual.
If the Red Sox allow the Dodgers to have them outright, the Dodgers will assume 100% of the remaining salary for both players. In Beckett's case, that's about $34M through 2014. Gonzalez, on the other hand, is owed another $127M or so, through 2018.
The one thing that could throw a monkey wrench into the works is that Beckett theoretically could exercise his 10/5 rights and veto a trade and/or waiver move. With 10 years of major league service and the last 5 being with the Red Sox, Beckett is allowed to veto any proposed movement.
What we think we know: It seems like a trade is inevitable. The Dodgers scratched James Loney from tonight's lineup, meaning he'll likely be part of the deal. The Red Sox did the same with Gonzalez, which implies some serious discussions are going on right now.
According to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto would also be in the mix, heading from Boston to LA. Crawford is owed an additional $102.5M between 2013 and 2017.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is reporting that the Dodgers would send Loney to the Sox, along with Allen Webster, Jerry Sands, Ivan de Jesus, and Rubby de la Rosa. Some of those players have not cleared waivers, so they would be included in the deal as "players to be named later," and sent to the Sox during the offseason.
What it means: The Red Sox are not turning back, at this point. They've seen that the team as it is currently constructed was not going to win. The team had way too much money locked up in unproductive players, particularly Crawford, Beckett, and John Lackey. Gonzalez was a pretty solid player, but unquestionably overpaid.
This deal will allow them to completely rebuild, and it gives GM Ben Cherington a chance to come out from under former GM Theo Epstein's shadow and put together his own group of players.
Assuming the Red Sox aren't forced to eat a huge chunk of salary, this looks like an excellent deal for them. Gonzalez will be a big loss, but they'll be able to replace him with the extra money they will have freed up by getting rid of him, Beckett, and Crawford.
There aren't a ton of huge names in free agency next winter, but the Red Sox have a lot of money to spend and quite a few prospects to throw around. They'll have a few empty spots in their lineup and their pitching rotation, so they'll be looking everywhere for guys to fill those voids.
Of the guys we think they're getting in return, Loney is the only one making significant money, and he'll be a free agent at the end of the season. They'll most likely let him walk. De la Rosa is coming off Tommy John surgery, but is an excellent young pitching prospect who can hit 97 mph on the radar gun. Allen Webster is a 22-year old starting pitcher whom the Cubs wanted in a potential trade involving Ryan Dempster, and he looks like he has a bright future.
Sands was once thought to be the Dodgers' best prospect, but has taken a little longer to develop than they had hoped. He can play first base or the outfield, so perhaps he'll eventually live up to his potential. De Jesus is a middle infielder who has played in 40 games for the Dodgers, and is hitting .273 this year.
For the Sox, this is a great deal, even if only because of the salary they're dumping.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, will soon feel a dose of reality. Gonzalez will definitely shore up their 1st base position, which has been a weakness all year. Beckett might improve greatly with a change of scenery, particularly in the NL, where there's at least one automatic out at the end of every lineup. Crawford is about to have Tommy John surgery.
The problem isn't necessarily with the talent of these players. They have the potential to help the Dodgers a lot, both now and in the long term. The issue is their contracts. Between the 3 of them, they're owed a combined $261M over the next 2-5 years. They're good, but they're not THAT good.
Financial decisions like this might just land the Dodgers in a familiar place... bankruptcy.