The fans have been crying for it. The experts demanding it. This past weekend the Red Sox front office executed one of the biggest trades in Major League history. Unloading upwards of $250 million in salary to LA, and wiping theproverbial slate clean. An unorthodox deal that centered around All-Star first baseman Adrain Gonzalez. The deal was not only a financial breather for the Sox it was also a huge power shift in the National League and perhaps in all of baseball.
After last season's clubhouse antics, many placed pitcher Josh Beckett a head of the sour grape committee. Involved in multiple incidents in recent years, Beckett has been ridiculed by his peers and fans for his above-the-law attitude. His teammate Carl Crawford's situation was a little different. After signing a legendary multi-year contract worth over $145 million, Crawford did not produce at a high level. Often injured, missing most of last season and the current season, he Sox looked to be saddled with Crawford and his high price tag for the next 5 seasons. Much like Beckett, a high salary made things difficult when seeking a trade. Unless of course the Red Sox were willing to eat most of the financial responsibility.
In order for this deal to have gone through, according to Major League rules the player or players have to clear waivers. This means any team that would like to acquire the said player on waivers would have to claim him. The team with the worst record has first choice (second worst gets second choice, and etc.). This fact is important because Red Sox GM Ben Cherrington did something in completing this deal that he had yet to do.....Impress Red Sox Nation. Make no mistake here, this deal took some brain power and, dare I say, a little moxy. In order to unload both Crawford's and Beckett's money, the Sox had to sacrifice what they thought was their future. They had to think outside the box and lure the right suitor in. That's just what they did by placing Gonzalez on waivers. this was a move few would haveever anticipated. Yet, as expected the Dodgers came forward with their checkbook in hand.
Los Angeles had already added close to $40 million in payroll last month with the additions of All-Stars Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez, as well as others. Led by a new ownership group, the Dodgers made a statement of their own; win now, win often at any cost. The addition of Gonzalez legitimizes their offense. Beckett brings valuable postseason "big game"experience. What remains to be seen and will not be clear till next season is: Did the Dodgers buy damaged goods? After all Carl Crawford (injured) will not play again until next May, and Beckett's numbers are the worst of his career.
For Boston this trade provides a new hope at least for next season. Dropping over $250 million in salary plus the nearly 50 additional million set to come off the books with other expiring contracts is a great start. This off-season the Sox will have the opportunity to sign a big name or two, maybe even retain a couple of their own. For LA, 2012 will be known (either way) as the year they went for it all regardless of the cost.
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