As I was looking over depth charts, pitchers, etc., I started thinking to myself–what in the world did the Los Angeles Dodgers do? And, thinking even more, why? Honestly, the Boston Red Sox GM Ben Cherington deserves an award. This might just be one of the biggest actual trades in MLB history, and for the Red Sox, definitely the best.
I know it is old news, but the Red Sox spring training has a different feel. There is competition, questions, and of course doubts; but it seems there is optimism. Sure the black clouds of 2012 have seemingly been lifted, and no one is thinking World Series…just yet. Bobby Valentine is gone, the undermining and in fighting appears to be gone, and so is approximately $275 million in salary and luxury taxes. $275 million!
We all know what transpired, but here’s a quick recap: Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzales, and Nick Punto to the Dodgers, Ivan De Jesus, Jerry Sands, and two players to be named later to the Red Sox. The Red Sox did throw in $12 million in cash to help finalize the deal, but again, they got rid of $275 million. By my feeble math, that’s a little more that 4% of the total. Not bad.
Let’s look at the Red Sox end of the deal as it sits today. The Red Sox moved De Jesus and Sands to the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of the deal that brought Joel Hanrahan to the Sox as their new closer. And what, you say whatever happened with those players to be named later? That would be Allen Webster and Ruby De La Rosa, two pitchers who figure prominently in the Red Sox future.
We’ve all heard of De La Rosa, the Dominican who by all accounts has electric stuff. Don’t look for him on the roster this spring, but odds are he will see some time at Fenway this season. Alan Webster is another interesting pitcher. His fastball gets up into the mid-90’s, and actually hit 98 this spring. Webster will probably see action with the Red Sox sooner than De La Rosa, if he doesn’t make the club outright this spring.
No one really wanted to see Adrian Gonzales go. You might call him collateral damage when the Sox made that trade, but no way that deal was getting done without him. The Sox had to do something big, and that is what they did. They freed up huge amounts of money, getting rid of massive, under-performing contracts. Generally speaking, after a few other moves (obviously there are other players involved in these dealings), in return they landed a closer, a pitcher who is borderline ready for the majors, and another pitcher who is an extremely high rated prospect.
The Red Sox dealings accomplished the near impossible. Getting rid of horrible contracts AND getting players in return, in less than one year. Restructuring a team this drastically usually takes time, ofter called “rebuilding years”. In 2012 their record was 69-93. And that was with all those contracts, $275 million worth in case we forgot. 2013 brings new hope, new players, a new manager, and a new attitude. And a new and improved payroll, with freedom they have not had in recent memory.