Today could be the single most important day in the history of the Dodgers, Lasorda’s Lair, and myself. It is expected, pending league approval from MLB commissioner Bud Selig, the Dodgers will be announcing a blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox. While this is going on I will be sitting in the most sacred ground of all, the Vin Scully pressbox. I am beyond humbled and honored to have our site be welcomed into the Chavez Ravine pressbox. I will be live tweeting during the game, so I hope you will be able to join me in the fun.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers will be sending James Loney, Jerry Sands, Rubby De La Rosa, Ivan DeJesus Jr, and Allen Webster to the Boston Red Sox, for slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, outfielder Carl Crawford, starting pitcher Josh Beckett, and utility infielder Nick Punto.
The Dodgers will be taking on the majority of the cash remaining on the four player’s contracts. The Dodgers are expected to take on 261 million dollars of the 271.5 million dollars in combined salary of the four players coming over from the Red Sox. Each team has different reasons for making the trades.
For the Dodgers, the deal centers around Adrian Gonzalez. As you well know, the Dodgers are in desperate need for a first baseman. James Loney has been in serious decline for years now, and Juan Rivera is bad. The Dodgers already upgraded the left side of their infield by acquiring Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins at the trade deadline. Gonzalez is one of the best first baseman in Baseball, and gives them a major league quality first baseman, and a feared power bat in the middle of the lineup. A middle of the order lineup of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Hanley Ramirez, and Adrian Gonzalez, is utterly delicious. The rest of the guys in the trade are basically just Gonzalez trade facilitators, and mainly involved only to allow us to acquire Gonzalez. Josh Beckett was once one of the better starting pitchers in Baseball, but has suffered through injury and inconsistencies this season. However if Chad Billingsley’s elbow injury forces him to miss any significant time, than the acquisition of Beckett becomes even more important. If Bills is healthy, then Beckett can slot in as the number five starter. The Dodgers have to get resident Bum starter Joe Blanton out of the rotation. Blanton who was picked up as waiver claim from the Phillies, has been completely atrocious in his four starts with the Dodgers, allowing 18 runs, and 28 hits, in 21 innings pitched. He has posted an ERA of 7.71 with the Dodgers, and has lost three of his four starts. (His first start was a no-decision). It is imperative the Dodgers get that Bum out of the rotation, and far away from our lives. The Dodgers can not afford to use him down the stretch in important games.
Carl Crawford is a talented outfielder, but has struggled with Boston and is hurt. He had Tommy John Surgery on his left elbow last week, and is not expected to return this season. He is expected to return in 2013, and could be our starting left fielder, if he is healthy by spring training. Utility guy Nick Punto was a throw in.
The Red Sox main purpose for the mega deal is to dump salary, and free up financial flexibility to retool their aging and expensive roster in the off-season. Boston is mired in mediocrity this year, and not expected to make the playoffs. The Red Sox will receive a package of young players, and Loney and can begin their process of rebuilding.
I am tickled pink right now, and love this trade. Yes there are some risks involved with such a large financial commitment to players In their 30’s but it is a risk we have to take if we want to have any chance of making the playoffs this season. We can’t go on any longer with auto outs at our infield corners, and the first base options on the free agent market are slim to none. The only viable options are Nick Swisher, and or the 36 year old injury prone Lance Berkman.
Some people are complaining about the large amount of cash the Dodgers will be taking on, and the soon to be plump payroll. First off, the new owners have very deep pockets. They have already said money is no object. They want to win now. The fans want to win now. We want to win now. This helps us do that by bringing in all-star caliber players. Some people are even complaining about the fact that the Dodgers may have to pay a luxury tax payment for going over the threshold. Who gives a dam? Are you really going to be thinking about the luxury tax threshold when Gonzalez is bombing home runs in to the pavilion seats? Are you really going to be thinking about taxes, and payroll when Gonzalez helps the Dodgers win the division, beat the Giants and advance to the postseason? Give me a break. So we’ll pay a fee into the competitive balance lottery, or the tax threshold pool, or whatever the hell it’s called, who gives a flying you know what?
We are hardly giving up anything anyways . Losing Rubby De La Rosa is going to hurt. He is one of the top pitching prospects. He throws 100 MPH, has amazing stuff. I have no doubt he will become a solid major league starting pitcher, assuming he works on his command. That’s the way it goes. This is Baseball. Trades happen. You have to give up talent to get talent. Just be happy. The only value these minor leaguers have is as trade chips. I like Jerry Sands. He is a nice guy, but unfortunately he never panned out in Los Angeles. He was given opportunities, but couldn’t adjust to major league pitching. I have seen that happen to many highly touted prospects. This is Baseball. He has been given more chances than guys like Luis Cruz, who has languished in the minors for years. Perhaps he was overvalued because of the thin state of the Dodger’s farm system, and our desperate need for any semblance of offense. Now he has a chance to start over with a new team. Good luck to him. I wish James Loney all the best as well. Loney has given us many wonderful moments in his seven years as a Dodger, before he began his deep decline. I will never forget his amazing grand slam home run onto Waveland avenue against the Cubs in the 2008 Division Series. It’s time to move on. Perhaps Loney can somehow revive his career in Boston? As for the rest of the guys, we’re not losing much. I wish them all the best. Hey we didn’t have to give up Zach Lee either, excellent.
If you are really complaining about losing Sands and Loney, then I am sorry but you need to get your head out of your rectum. The new owners are smart businessman. They understand how much revenue a World Series brings in. That is much more important then hanging onto a bunch of prospects that may never pan out. Perhaps the players being traded can harness their potentials with the red Sox, but it is no longer our problem any longer. Remember where we were just a short year ago? Wishing Frank McCourt would fall into a black hole, and dreaming of the day we would be contenders? Well now thanks to the wonderful Guggenheim people, Magic Johnson, and shrewd executive Stan Kasten, we are now realizing that dream. They are building a championship caliber team for years to come. Enjoy it. Revel in it. Sure it is going to mean many nights of heartburn, and scoreboard watching, and it won’t be easy, but it is all worth it in the end.
Now is the time for all Dodger fans across the globe to rise up, and show what we are made of. It is time to restore Dodger pride, and the Dodger way that was lost due to the incompetence of the McCourt regime. Now is the tome to seize the day. No longer will we sit idly by and sit in second division status. We will show the National league, Major League Baseball, and the rest of the world, that we will not go gently into that good night. We will fight. WE WILL NOT GIVE UP! WE will battle for every last out, and on every last pitch. Let’s show the world what we are made of. The rest of Baseball needs to understand that not only is this a Dodger nation, but it is in fact a Dodger Blue world.