BoSox send Gonzalez, Beckett, Crawford to Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are stocking up for the stretch run with
some new, expensive players who couldn’t help the Boston Red Sox
make it to the postseason this year or last.
The Dodgers acquired first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Josh
Beckett and injured outfielder Carl Crawford from Boston on
Saturday, hoping to boost their playoff hopes by taking on the
underperforming and high-priced stars who failed to thrive in a
fractious Red Sox clubhouse.
Boston also sent infielder Nick Punto and about $11 million in
cash to Los Angeles in the nine-player trade that was the biggest
in Dodgers history. In return, the Red Sox got first baseman James
Loney, pitcher Allen Webster, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr. and two
players to be named while shedding more than $250 million in
salaries through 2018.
”We understand that you have to spend money to be good in this
league,” said Magic Johnson, the former NBA star who is part of
the rich new Dodgers ownership group that has dramatically revamped
their roster in the last month.
”When we came in, we made it clear that we want to build the
Dodgers back to what they once were,” Dodgers president Stan
Gonzalez hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat for the
Dodgers, while the depleted Red Sox blew a six-run lead to the
Kansas City Royals and lost 10-9 in 12 innings Saturday night.
Mauro Gomez, filling in for Gonzalez at first base, had four
hits, including his first major league homer. But Aaron Cook, a
late substitute for Beckett, gave up three runs before recording a
single out, and after Boston rallied to take a 9-3 lead the bullpen
couldn’t hold it.
Kansas City scored six in the seventh, all with two outs.
”It was frustrating,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said.
”We couldn’t get that third out in the seventh inning. Had about
Los Angeles, two games behind the San Francisco in the NL West,
has in the past month acquired shortstop Hanley Ramirez, outfielder
Shane Victorino, starter Joe Blanton and reliever Brandon League.
The latest deal comes less than a week before the Aug. 31 deadline
for players to be eligible for the postseason.
”It’s just exciting,” Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp said.
”Everybody wants to win, and the guys up there are really making a
statement and showing us that they want to win just as bad as we
For the Red Sox, 13 1/2 games back in the AL East, the trade
signaled a concession for 2012 and a chance to rebuild without
hefty contracts given during an undisciplined foray into free
agency that, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington conceded, has
not worked out.
”It gives us an opportunity to build the next great Red Sox
team,” Cherington said. ”We just felt like to get to be a team we
believe in and a team the fans deserve, to sustain winning year
after year, it was going to take something more than cosmetic
changes. It was going to take something bold.”
The Red Sox will save $261 million in salaries through 2018,
plus a few million more for the rest of this season. Boston will
send $11 million to the Dodgers as part of the deal, according to a
baseball official with knowledge of the deal who spoke on condition
of anonymity because the financial terms were not public.
”The bottom line is we haven’t won enough games. That goes back
to last September,” Cherington said. ”We just haven’t performed
on the field. As a team we haven’t performed. … This is not about
the four players we gave up – anything particularly they did wrong.
We just didn’t perform as a team.”
Beckett was a key part of the team that won the 2007 World
Series, but he was also the ringleader last year when the ballclub
went 7-20 in September and missed a playoff spot on the final day
of the season. Reports of players drinking beer and eating fried
chicken in the clubhouse during games surfaced afterward, and
Beckett’s haughty demeanor – and rising ERA – continued to alienate
The 2003 World Series MVP with the Florida Marlins, Beckett now
moves from fried chicken to the land of In-N-Out Burger, bringing
with him a pair of other players who were not productive enough to
justify their contracts. Beckett was due $31.5 million over the
next two years; Gonzalez has $127 million coming through 2018;
Crawford is due $102.5 million over the next five seasons.
Both Cherington, who replaced Theo Epstein after the September
collapse, and Valentine, who was brought in to replace Terry
Francona, defended their departing players. But Valentine agreed
that change was needed in the clubhouse.
”Yes. It was necessary,” he said. ”(It) just didn’t seem like
it mixed as well as it should.”
Players traded in August have to first pass through waivers. Any
team with a worse record than Los Angeles could have claimed
Gonzalez, Beckett and Crawford before the Dodgers, but it would
have had to pick up their contracts.
Instead, the teams worked out a deal that reshuffled the NL West
race and had the rest of baseball talking, too.
”It’s surprising,” New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
”You’re not used to seeing that many big names go in one trade – a
bunch of All-Stars, guys who have been in World Series and played
at a very high level.”
Red Sox players said before Saturday night’s game against Kansas
City that they were surprised to see their longtime teammates gone
in a deal that came together quickly. Gonzalez, Beckett and
Crawford were already on their way to Los Angeles on Saturday,
according to a picture Punto posted on Twitter; Boston pitcher John
Lackey had already claimed Beckett’s locker, pulling rank over Clay
”Nothing surprises me in this game,” Red Sox outfielder Cody
Ross in the Fenway Park clubhouse, where the nameplates had already
been removed from his former teammates’ lockers. ”This isn’t your
normal trade. This is a blockbuster deal that will probably go down
as one of the biggest, but it still doesn’t surprise me.”
Gonzalez, a former San Diego Padres star, said on Twitter in
English and Spanish that he was excited to get back to California.
Beckett joined the social media site to thank Red Sox fans, writing
”Even in the tough times I ran into so many wonderful people that
were so awesome I’m Greatly appreciative to all of you.”
The 32-year-old Beckett is 5-11 with a 5.23 ERA in 21 starts
this season. A three-time All-Star, he is 130-92 lifetime with a
Gonzalez, 30, is a four-time All-Star and a three-time Gold
Glove winner. He hit .300 with 15 home runs and 86 RBIs this
season, his second since being traded by San Diego to Boston.
Crawford, at 31, hit .282 with three homers and 19 RBIs in 31
games this season. He had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow this
week and is expected to take six to nine months to recover.
Crawford was a four-time All-Star with Tampa Bay before signing
The 34-year-old Punto hit .200 with one homer and 10 RBIs as a
Loney hit .254 with four homers and 33 RBIs for the Dodgers this
season. At 28, he’d spent his whole career in Los Angeles.
The 25-year-old DeJesus was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. He
hit .273 in 23 games for the Dodgers this year. Webster, a
22-year-old right-hander, was 6-8 with a 3.55 ERA at Double-A
AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this