When the Red Sox were at their lowest point last summer, they were able to rid themselves of $261 million in contracts and they were also able to change their clubhouse culture by trading Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers.
The Dodgers bailed out the Red Sox in every which way imaginable. Boston was able to re-boot their roster in the hopes of getting it right.
By making the trade it removed a majority of the long-term commitments the team had past 2012.
Simply put, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Red Sox.
It’s not that Gonzalez was terrible in his one-and-a-half seasons in Boston. Gonzalez just seemed to be more of a J.D. Drew-level player than a Manny Ramirez-type. Gonzalez’s numbers were good, but they also started to show a decline in his power, not something the Red Sox would have expected given his power at Petco Park playing for the San Diego Padres.
Gonzalez never seemed to embrace the expectations of playing in front of the fans of Boston. His mannerism screamed laid-back. Gonzalez looks to be much more of a fit playing in California.
Crawford is an enigma. During his time with the Tampa Bay Rays, Crawford would terrorize the Red Sox on the bases, get clutch hits and make great plays in the field.
Moving to Boston, that Crawford never showed up at Fenway Park. He seemed to struggle almost immediately with the $142 contract that he had signed with the Red Sox, putting pressure on himself to live up to the expectations that came with the contract.
Crawford will obviously benefit from the move out West once he recovers from elbow surgery.
Beckett was a pariah by the time the trade occurred, but he did help bring a championship to the Red Sox and probably was getting frustrated about living under the microscope in Boston.
The biggest disappointment with Beckett is that he seemed far more concerned about the snitches in the Red Sox clubhouse then fixing his performance.
Moving forward, the best part for the Red Sox is what comes next; Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster.
Both pitchers have already opened eyes this spring. Both players look to have a bright future with the Red Sox.
The fact that the Red Sox were not only able to dump those contracts and headaches, but actually get two top pitching prospects among the four players they received from the Dodgers is astounding.
Both pitchers are lottery tickets, if the Red Sox hit on one or both, the Dodgers could be regretting this trade for years. The other prospects that the Red Sox received in the deal, Jerry Sands and Ivan De Jesus, were already spun to the Pittsburgh Pirates to acquire closer Joel Hanrahan.
Right now, this spring, the Red Sox are realizing how fortunate they are.
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Rant Sports: Jonathan Cullen