Beantown/Hollywood Swap for the Ages

After much rumbling last night on the trade wire, what will be known as the biggest trade of the last 20 years is going down. To many, this is a trade of some sorts that has been in the works for the last year, after the Boston Red Sox completed the biggest collapse in baseball history.

There was much talk about how much the dynamic of the Red Sox team would change. The first step was the firing of manager Terry Francona, the man who took them to 2 World Series titles in his 8 years as manager. Firing Francona was only the beginning. Trading Kevin Youkilis, a fan favorite, who had public disagreements with new manager Bobby Valentine was the next. Many screamed out for a culture change, and with this move, the Red Sox are making a bold statement.

The trade will send Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, both whom signed $100 million contracts before last season, along with former World Series MVP Josh Beckett and utility-man Nick Punto to Los Angeles. In return, the Boston Red Sox will receive top pitching prospect Allen Webster, along with Jerry Sands, Rubby De La Rosa, and Ivan De Jesus.

On paper this is a huge deal for both sides. Both sides will definitely win in the short term as well as the long term, just the only issue is how much of a return can Los Angeles get on these players. Crawford has disappointed since departing the Rays, as well as Gonzalez not playing up to his career standards. But a change of scenery might do the both of them well. Gonzalez tore up the NL West his last 2 seasons with the Padres, and he represents a huge upgrade over James Loney. Also coming over is Josh Beckett, a proven winner in the regular season as well as the postseason. While he has struggled this season, moving to the easier NL West might do him some justice. Not to be forgotten is the jack of all trades but master of none, Nick Punto. Who last year served a pivotal role on the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. He should play a huge utility role for the Dodgers come playoff time. While Los Angeles is taking on even more salary, it proves to many that this new ownership is serious about winning.

The Dodgers however, are making a huge commitment for the future. The club now has a $193.75MM in contract obligations for next season, $133.6MM for 2014, $90MM for 2015, $88.65MM for 2015, and another $90MM for 2016. The Red Sox, on the other hand, are now on the hook for just $45.6MM in 2013, $34.4MM in 2014, $12.75MM in 2015, and $2.45MM in 2016. With Josh Hamilton and Zach Grienke available this winter, there is a chance the Red Sox could be in the mix for either’s services.

Boston, in the midst of a fire sale of some sorts is mainly just trying to change the culture in the clubhouse along with the perception of the team. Last season, Boston as well as Atlanta both completed the two worst collapses down the stretch in baseball history. The only difference between the two is that this season the Braves have put it behind them, while Boston has seemed to been cursed all season. It will be interesting to see where the team goes in the future.

Now the biggest question of them all is, who are the winners and losers in this deal. Obviously the Dodgers are a big winner. Adding one of the best overall hitting 1st baseman in all of Major League Baseball in Adrain Gonzalez is certainly an upgrade. Along with Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto, the Dodgers have made themselves clear favorites to win the NL West. The fans who are going to hate this the most are the fans of the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox. The Giants currently hold a 3 game lead in the NL West but facing a lineup of Victorino-Kemp-Ramirez-Ethier-Gonzalez along with a pitching staff of Kershaw-Beckett-Billingsley-Blanton makes things a little more interesting. In the long run, the Dodgers have made themselves favorites and the Yankees of the west as far as spending, but only time will tell how successful this team will be.

The complete landscape of the AL East and the NL West has changed in the last 24 hours, with over $200 million in salaries changing teams. The only question that remains to be seen, is will the Dodgers get that elusive world title out of it. They are spending over $200 million for it, better hope the investment is worth the hardware.

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