Saturday, August 25, 2012

Reviewing The Boston/Los Angeles Trade

When it comes to looking to free up money, the Sox did a great job. Adrian Gonzalez is set to make $127 million over the next 6 years, Josh Beckett's contract gives him $31.5 million over the next two years, Carl Crawford will receive $102.5 million between 2013 and 2017, and Nick Punto has 1 year and $1.5 million remaining on his 2 year deal. That's a total of $262.5 million, of which Boston will only pay $12 million, putting the Dodgers on the hook for $250.5 million.

But was the money well spent, and will it be well spent for either team? Let's take a look at the key pieces of the deal, all coming from Boston.

Raise your hand if you want to move back to the west coast.

When it comes to dealing Gonzalez I'm not really sure why Boston did that. I'm not saying it isn't a lot of money, but it's not as if Adrian hasn't been a big contributor to the team. For starters, according to Fangraph's, Gonzo was worth $29.5 million last season, well above the AAV of his contract ($22 million). This season hasn't been going quite as well, as he's only been worth $12.3 million, but he's still putting up pretty respectable numbers (.300/.343/.469 with 15 HR and 86 RBI). If the Sox were looking into the future, which I believe they are, then it would make sense if Gonzalez only had a year or two left on his contract, but as I've pointed out... that's not the case.

The Sox didn't have any first basemen on Baseball America's preseason top 10 prospect list, but perhaps they believe Mauro Gomez, who is hitting .310/.371/.589 in AAA Pawtucket so far this season, is the long-term answer at 1B. Or it could be Jerry Sands, who was acquired from Los Angeles. Sands hit well in the minors, batting .303/.380/.531 with 24 HR in AAA, although his 251 plate appearances in MLB haven't been "all that" (.244/.325/.376). But Jerry is only 24 years old, so maybe Boston has something here.

Adrian could have been a key part of the future, but now he'll be giving Giants fans headaches instead of giving me and other Yankee fans headaches (in 12 games against the Yankees this season his triple-slash is .375/.388/.667).

On the other hand I understand why the Dodgers traded for Adrian. Gonzalez dominated the NL West for 5 years prior to being traded to Boston before the 2011 season, putting up a triple-slash of .288/.374/.514 to go along with averaging about 32 HRs a year while with the San Diego Padres. Los Angeles had James Loney, who was dealt to Boston in the deal, at 1B this season, but James was putting up a paltry batting line of .254/.302/.344 at the time. So getting a a 30-year old that could hold down that position for the next 6 years makes sense. Although Adrian is earning his money so far, I'm sure that by the end of the deal Dodgers fans will be happy to see him go, just as Yankee fans will be about guys like Mark Teixiera and Alex Rodriguez.

Verdict: Good for the Dodgers, bad for Boston.

"No! Due to the time difference, watching sports on the west coast sucks!"

With Boston possibly thinking a few years down the road, it made sense to unload Josh Beckett. Last season Beckett finished 9th in Cy Young voting, after putting up an ERA of 2.89 and WHIP of 1.026 in 30 starts, last season. This season hasn't been going as well, as Josh's ERA has ballooned to 5.23 and his WHIP has gone up to 1.327. Although, according to Fangraph's, Beckett more the earned his salary in 2011, that won't be the case in 2012.

The Red Sox do have Justin Germano, who has an ERA of 2.40 and WHIP of 0.905 in 16 AAA starts, to go along with 4 other starters already in the Sox rotation that are all under 30 years old (Lester, Buchholz, Doubront, and Bard). And that doesn't include picking up Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa. Webster had an ERA of 3.55 and WHIP of 1.455 in AA Chattanooga so far this season, so he isn't blowing anybody away. De La Rosa was a surprise call-up to the Dodgers this season, having just come back from reconstructive elbow surgery 13 months before, but only lasted .2 innings after walking 2 of the 4 batters he faced. So I'm not sure what they have there.

The Dodgers though picked up a solid pitcher to put behind Clayton Kershaw in the rotation, and at $15.75 million a season, they aren't drastically over-paying. It doesn't look like the Dodgers have better choices within the organization for 2012 and beyond, as nobody in AAA is "killing it" out side of John Ely, and Ely has been lit up so far in MLB to the tune of a 5.35 ERA and 1.456 WHIP in 19 starts and 112.2 innings. Chad Billingsley is a good #3 starter, but he hasn't been able to replicate the great numbers he put up in his 2nd and 3rd years in the Majors.

Verdict: Good for both teams.

Picture this, but with Carl wearing a Dodgers uniform instead.

In his first two seasons with Boston Crawford has earned, again... via Fangraph's Dollar Value, only $2.5 million of the $33.5 million he's been paid. And now Carl's having Tommy John surgery, ensuring that he won't have a shot at making up for at least some of that the rest of this season, and possibly part of next season. So it was a no-brainer for the Red Sox to dump this guy before he cost them any more money, since Carl will be paid $102.5 million more dollars over the next 5 years.

But I have no idea why the Dodgers agreed to this. They recently extended the contracts of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, and both players are doing pretty well (Kemp has an OPS+ of 168 and Ethier has an OPS+ of 121). LA also has a guy by the name of Alfredo Silverio, who was their #4 prospect in Baseball America's preseason Top 10 list, and is hitting .306/.340/.542 at AA Chattanooga this season. So why clog up an outfield spot with a guy making that much money, and only hitting .260/.292/.419 in his last 664 plate appearances?

Verdict: Good for Boston, bad for Los Angeles

In the end I really don't know how to feel about this trade. The good part about it for both teams, the swap of Josh Beckett, is the least cost-wise out of the key pieces involved. While both of the expensive parts of the deal, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, are a wash (Gonzo good for LA, Crawford good for Boston).

But what really matters here is how it affects the Yankees. Initially I thought that it was not good for the Bombers, as the Red Sox now have a lot of money they can use on buying some good replacement players. But there's a big "if" there, in that one of Mauro Gomez or Jerry Sands would have to be a good replacement for Adrian Gonzalez's contributions, and remember that not only did Adrian hit well but he was a great fielding 1B too. So to be honest, the loss of Gonzo could cost the team more than half of what they just saved to replace. Couple that with the good possibility that the Sox bring back Jacoby Ellsbury, who is a free agent after this season, and that could be that as far as having more money.

The best thing that came out of this trade is that it made for some more exciting baseball stuff to talk about. Unfortunately I don't think the Red Sox front office is in the business of giving people like me stuff to talk about.

"I'm just trying my best to give Bryan more things to write about at The Greedy Pintripes."


  1. From a lontime Blue-Bleeder, striving for objectivity:
    Most of you know what the LAD receieved, what the BoSox got maybe not so much:

    James Loney: A ping-hitting LH 1B who had one decent year(2008) and GM Ned Colletti has been waiting ever since for an instant replay. Dodgers have been playing with no power at 2 power positions since Adrian Beltre left 3B and LA.

    Rubby de la Rosa: Fireballing RHP was called up to be 5th starter last year, 60K in 60IP, went 4-5 with hitless wonders before blowing out elbow. Had TJ, and had just returned to the active roster days before trade, probably as a showcase for Sawks. A 23 year old of great promise, probably won't hit triple-digits again though. Should start for years for Sawks.

    Jerry Sands: Yet another player who was never given a real chance by Dodgers, in the Paul Konerko/JWerth tradition. RH could Play 1B, LF or DH in BOS. Power hitter who may or not make it in The Show. Hopefully he gets the chance to show what he can/can't do in BOS.

    Allen Webster: RHP = Dodgers #2 prospect. Rated #95 prospect in MLB by At age 22 still too soon to tell, but more than one deal blew up this year because Dodgers wouldn't include him. Slim chance for a Sept. call-up.

    Ivan de Jesus, Jr.: Not as good as Dad, probably a lifetime futility infielder, decent glove, weak bat.

    Conclusion: DeLaRosa most likely player to help Sawks this year. Loney could be a 1B defensive replacement, not likely to DH much. Declining as he enters his prime with a slash-line 0f .254/4/33/.344 (SLG). LH Warning Track power would have been better suited to Yankee Stadium. Sands and Webster, time will tell, deJesus...nuff said.

    As for the LAD, AGone is starting tonight after 7 years of watching Loney pop up or GIDPs. Awesome.

    The SP ranks were led by Cy Kershaw and 4 journemen. Billingsley had just started to pitch like the #2 we thought he could be, winnining 5 straight. Left last start wit "elbow inflammation". Beckett steps right in as legit #2 SP. Fantastic.

    Crawford: Probably will take over in LF after recovering from TJ. Donn't expect Victorino to re-up. Hell Yeah.

    Punto: Either replaces Adam Kennedy as Futility Infielder or gets puntoed onto waiver wire,meh.

    If you got it, flaunt it and that's what the Dodgers are now doing after years of McDork throwing around nickels like they were man-hole covers at Player Payroll. This deal and the HanRam deal both look like they were engineered by Stan Kasten, not Coletti (the current GM). The big question now re-appears: Can a Team buy a World Championship?

    1. Hey thanks for the heads up. I was kind of clueless on De Jesus and Sands. I knew Rubby just came back from TJ but didnt know how good Dodgers fans thought he was until I went forum hopping.

  2. Rubby (pronounced Ruby) looked IMO like a can't-miss (at least) #3 starter and as I recall wasn't drafted but signed out of the Mexican League. I'll fact-check that. YW for the update, can't expect everybody to keep current on other Team's prospects. AGon, in his 1st AB for LA last night blasted a 3R Bomb. No surprise to Dodger Fans who had been tormented by him when he was with SD. Bat and Glove. In other trade-related news, Loney singled in his 1st AB as a Sawk, against a lefty. Gotta wonder how in yo face BobbyV will co-exist with laid-back Loney. Larry Bowa never got through to him in his 3 years with LA. Little-known factoid: Loney was a mid-90's LHP in College, Dodgers drafted him and immediately converted him to 1B. I always wanted to see what he could have done from the mound. One more update: Beckett will start next game for LAD.

    I still can't get over the Sawks giving up 3 everday, AS caliber players (Once Crawford returns) for what could maybe/maybe not end up being Zilch. Best case scenario for them is that Rubby and Webster be all that they can be, sooner and later respectively. This deal is going to take all the fun out of Yanks/Sawks for a few years, IMO. Gotta check that special Sawks section in Boston Globe for fan reaction :D

  3. Checked The Globe and found intro to Dan Shaughnessy's column. Ain't paying for the rest:

    It would be the biggest Red Sox trade since Babe Ruth was dealt to the Yankees for cash in 1920. Hope this one works out better. On Friday night, the Red Sox were on the verge of dealing Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford (plus journeyman Nick Punto), and their accompanying fat paychecks to the free-spending Dodgers for first baseman James Loney and a bunch of young guys you’ve never heard of.

  4. I'm not a prospect guy, and I'll never claim to be, so my thoughts on who the Sox got could be way off. So I really appreciate the insight there.

    The main thing I'm interested in is whether the Sox have to go outside the organization to fill the void left by Gonzalez, and what they do about the free agency of Ellsbury after next year, because those two things could cancel out all that money they saved.

    This is one of those deals that you can't grade for a while, because there are many questions to ask about the Sox for the next few years.

  5. I think the happiest guy is David Ortiz because the fans will revolt if he does not get a multi year big money contract after this season. no excuses now Cherington...

  6. The more I think about this deal, the more I wonder how strongly the Sawks vetted Cherington vs. others before anointing him.The Dodgers obviously not only for today, but IMO for the next 6 years or so won this deal, which gives them ample time to rebuild a weak farm system. The Sawks on the other hand came up empty for today, and Boston is one of those towns like the Bronx,LA, and Philly that simply won't tolerate 4 or 5 years of an average Team. They really need to pick up Josh Hamilton in FA, but they're going to be competing with Texas and the Dodgers and many other teams. If they succeed they will have spent most of the contract money they just save...for one player. And it's a weak FA Market this year. That leaves a lot of holes. Time indeed will tell, Bryan, but for this deal to work for Boston Sands is going to develop into the next Ortiz and Rubby and Webster into #2 and #3 Starers or one into an SP one into a great closer. And damn quickly. This deal would have been even better received in LA if they'd made the Boston take Juan Uribe, the only player less popular than Loney.
    In all my years I've never seen "Shedding Payroll" penciled into a Lineup Card. Somewhere, probably in a Lakeshore Mansion in Evanston, Theo Epstein is very happy to be a Chicagoan.

    1. The Red Sox fans wont tolerate an average team for 4 or 5 years? They didnt win a World Series for 86 years...


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)