As you probably know by now, the Boston Red Sox have traded firstbaseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford and infielder Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers for first baseman James Loney, infielder Ivan DeJesus, Jr., pitcher Allen Webster and two players to be named later.
In his final Red Sox at bat, Gonzalez struck out against Angels closer Ernesto Frieri on Thursday night to conclude a wild 14-13 loss. The Sox had led the game 6-0 in the 2nd inning. When Gonzalez chased a bad pitch for strike two, I told my roomie that Frieri didn’t need to throw another strike. He threw another pitch outside and Gonzalez chased for strike three.
Both Gonzalez and Crawford joined the Red Sox in 2011. Gonzalez was acquired in a trade with the San Diego Padres and was quickly signed to a seven-year contract extension worth $154 million while Crawford was signed via free agency to a seven-year contract worth $142 million. While Gonzalez’s offensive numbers were good, he was a problem in the clubhouse both under Terry Francona and Bobby Valentine. As for Crawford, he had a lackluster 2011 and was injured most of 2012 with wrist and elbow injuries although he did play well in limited action in 2012. Crawford underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow and will not be able to play until late in the 2013 season.
Beckett has been a member of the Red Sox since 2006 when he and Mike Lowell were acquired from the Florida Marlins for Hanley Ramirez (who is now Beckett’s teammate in Los Angeles) and Anibal Sanchez. His best season with the Sox was in 2007 when he won 20 games for a Red Sox team that would win its second World Series in four years. Beckett was also runner up in the AL Cy Young balloting to C.C. Sabathia then of the Cleveland Indians.
But following the Red Sox collapse in 2011, it was Beckett who became synonymous with beer and chicken wings in the clubhouse. He did little to endear himself to the fans this season when he skipped a start against the Orioles but was well enough to go out for a round of golf. In 21 starts this season, Beckett went 5-11 with a 5.23 ERA.
The Dodgers are presently three games back of the Giants in the NL West and a game back of the Cardinals for the second NL Wild Card spot. Gonzalez joins a lineup which features Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and the recently acquired Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino. Perhaps he will feel more comfortable in an environment where he isn’t the center of attention (the bulk of that would go to Kemp) and is near his hometown of San Diego. I’m just not sure how Gonzalez will be in the clubhouse. Aside from his troubles in Boston, the Padres blew a large lead in the NL West in 2010. It could be that Gonzalez is a good player but not a good team player. Meanwhile, Beckett will join a rotation featuring 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. It’ll be interesting to see how Beckett responds to this change in environment. The jury is still out as to whether it’s enough to get them to the post-season. I suspect when Crawford returns from Tommy John surgery he will be far more comfortable in LA than he was here in Boston and may return to his form during his days with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Red Sox honestly don’t get much in return. James Loney is an underachiever and I would imagine six weeks in Boston would be enough for him to want to sign elsewhere in 2013 as he becomes a free agent. The Red Sox do now have a quarter of a billion to play with now. It will be interesting to see what they do in the offseaon. Will they re-sign Jacoby Ellsbury? Or will they go after someone like Michael Bourn?
However, I don’t think it really matters what the Sox do until they get rid of Bobby Valentine. Most of the players still don’t like playing under Bobby V. Until they are free of his antics, the Red Sox will remain a second division club.
UPDATE: In his first at bat with the Dodgers, Adrian Gonzalez has hit a three run homerun off Josh Johnson of the Miami Marlins.
UPDATE II: As for the Red Sox, they had a 9-3 lead into the 7th. The Royals scored six runs in the seventh to tie the game at 9-9. The Royals won the game in the 12th on a single by Tony Abreu. It’s already been a long season and it’s not getting any shorter.