The Los Angeles Dodgers’ $270 Million Gamble
When the Los Angeles Dodgers were purchased almost four months ago for 2 billion dollars by Mark Walter, Stan Kasten, and Magic Johnson, the big question was how much money would the new ownership group invest in the quality of their franchise. After today, Dodger fans know more than ever that their team is willing to win at all costs. The Dodgers and Boston Red Sox have agreed to a nine-player trade, highlighted by All Star slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez going to Los Angeles. He will be joined by Carl Crawford, Nick Punto, and Josh Beckett. In return, the Dodgers will ship hard-throwing pitcher Rubby De La Rosa, along with first baseman James Loney, and minor leaguers Allen Webster, Jerry Sands, and Ivan De Jesus to Boston.
The trade is a massive salary dump for the Red Sox. The Red Sox were committed to paying Gonzalez close to $130 milllion through 2018, while Beckett and Crawford were owed a combined $140 million. Although they did not get a single star player in return, the Sox will get out of paying two awful contracts in Beckett and Crawford.
Beckett has been a massive disappointment this season, going 5-11 with an ERA of 5.23, while Crawford just underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery. The former All Star left fielder was hitting .282 for the Red Sox, but has been mostly injured since signing a 7-year, $142 million dollar contract before the 2011 season. The Sox are willing to rebuild their team with youth, and De La Rosa, Sands, and Webster each have a chance to become quality big leaguers.
For the Dodgers, this enormous gamble comes down to Gonzalez, who is leading the Sox in batting average, hits, RBIs, and slugging percentage. He will be an awesome addition to the Dodgers' lineup and should instantly pay dividends with Shane Victorino, Matt Kemp, and Hanley Ramirez in the top half of their batting order.
Crawford will not return to the active lineup until 2013 and Beckett might thrive in returning to the National League. However, the latter are huge question marks and their large salaries made every other team in baseball shy away from aquiring them. Not this new Dodgers ownership group. In six weeks, we will know if this blockbuster trade is magical and sends Los Angeles to the postseason.