The Red Sox trade Theo to the Dodgers

The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo is reporting that the Red Sox’ proposed deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, trading away Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and Josh Beckett, has been completed, according to a major league source.

The old saying in baseball is “you can’t fire the players, so you fire the manager.” The Red Sox are proving that axiom incorrect.

This is an enormous deal at any point in any decade of baseball’s history. This is a “sliced bread” deal, as in for a long time this will be the benchmark when fans say, “this was the biggest trade since….”

Red Sox fans need to understand that this is not a trade about who Boston got in return. For the record, they will get free-agent to be first baseman James Loney, who has proven to be a disappointment over his LA years, pitcher Rubby De La Rosa who underwent Tommy John surgery about 13 months ago but is a prized prospect. Also heading to Boston are the right-handed pitching prospect Allen Webster, infielder Ivan De Jesus, and outfielder Jerry Sands.

But this was a trade that achieves three things:

It clears payroll for future growth and development for this moribund franchise that will miss the postseason for the third straight season which may not seem a lot to you fans of the Pirates, Cubs, Orioles, Royals, Padres, and on and on and on, but this is a big deal for a franchise that has spent money and has had recent past success.

It rids them of players who were wrong for this team. As Dan Shaughnessy brilliantly wrote in this morning’s Boston Globe, “This trade is about clearing the air of the stench created by the 2011 and 2012 Red Sox. It’s about saying goodbye to arrogance, unearned entitlement, and poor performance from top-priced talent. It’s about changing the rotten culture of the Sox clubhouse, a malaise that has turned even diehard fans against the once-beloved franchise.” My only surprise is that the Dodgers didn’t also ask for a team oncologist because Beckett has been a cancer to the team, organization, and fan base.

Finally, it acknowledges that the Theo Epstein era is over. I have repeatedly written that Epstein inherited a much better ballclub from Dan Duquette than Ben Cherington inherited from Epstein. I will write more about this in the future but I don’t just look at this from a statistical perspective. Theo had a proclivity to bring in players that reflected his insular personality.

  • Gonzalez seemed to be offended by playing Sunday nights on ESPN and shied away from the spotlight. He should have been a leader but wasn’t. Forget his RISP numbers, he remained strangely non-impactful.
  • Crawford was overwhelmed by his contract and not prepared to play in this environment after years playing in front of crowds in Tampa that equaled the attendance of a BoSox club gathering. Most importantly, he was a left-hand bat on a team that needed a right-hand bat. While fans may complain about the Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey signings, Theo’s worst deal was the inking of Crawford because it simply didn’t make sense.

So as Red Sox Nation ponders if this is the day that they love Dodgers owner Magic Johnson more than Larry Bird, understand this is an important step to right a ship that is more under water than their six games under .500 indicate. This is the best day for Boston in this long, miserable season that began last September 1. This is the day the Red Sox fired the players.

Remaining Salary on Current Contract After the 2012 Season

Player Owed Yrs
Adrian Gonzalez $127M 6
Carl Crawford $102.5M 5
Josh Beckett $31.5M 2
Nick Punto $1.5M 1
— ESPN Stats & Information