Aug
26

The Morning After: Breaking up the Red Sox

By

Three-run dinger in his first at-bat last night. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Blame Robert Andino. Had the Orioles’ utility infielder not laced that single off Jonathan Papelbon last September, the Red Sox would have remained alive in the postseason hunt and none of this probably happens. Instead, the ball found grass and the dominoes started to fall when Terry Francona and Theo Epstein walked away from the organization last winter. Papelbon moved on as a free agent, new manager Bobby Valentine was brought in (by ownership?), and the losing resumed.

The Red Sox are mired in fourth place in the AL East, closer to having the worst record in the circuit than they are a Wild Card spot. Prior to last night’s game, Boston was 74-88 in their last 162 contests despite a payroll north of $170M. GM Ben Cherington (Epstein’s replacement) took a drastic step to improve his team yesterday, completed a trade that can be legitimately described as franchise-altering. Heading to the Dodgers are Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto, and $12M. Coming back are James Loney, prospects Allen Webster, Rubby DeLaRosa, Jerry Sands, Ivan DeJesus, and roughly $260M of cleared future payroll.

You can make a really strong case that this is one of the biggest trades in baseball history, certainly one of the biggest during my lifetime. Prior to this move, only one player with more than $100M remaining on his contract had ever been traded — Alex Rodriguez when he came to the Yankees in 2004. Both Gonzalez (~$109M) and Crawford (~$107M) are still owed nine figures after this year. A trade of this magnitude has a ripple effect throughout baseball, including an indirect impact on the Yankees. Here are some miscellaneous thoughts on the trade…

  • I think the deal is just flat-out brilliant on Cherington’s part. Yes, he did surrender one truly great player in Gonzalez, but in the process he rid himself of two of the most out-of-favor players in team history. Clearing a quarter-billion dollars in payroll and getting real live prospects in return is the stuff GM dreams are made of.
  • While the Red Sox made a great move for the long-term health of the franchise, the short-term damage is severe. David Ortiz may miss the rest of the season, which means they’ve have very little power in the lineup, particularly from the left side. They’ll have to find two corner outfielders, a first baseman, and maybe a DH after the season (more on that in a bit). That’s not easy to do. On top of that they have to replace Beckett in an already porous rotation.
  • On the other end of the deal, pretty bad job by the Dodgers to absorb that much money and give up those kinds of prospects. That said, they just acquired an impact first baseman, a potential impact starter, and a potential impact outfielder for what amounts to one Albert Pujols financially. The future might be ugly, but that team has a phenomenal chance to win now.
  • For more about the prospects involved, check out my MLBTR post. I really like DeLaRosa, that kid has a great arm. He’s not the next Pedro Martinez or anything, but his mid-90s fastball/power slider combination is true swing-and-miss stuff. Getting him alone would have been a coup for the Sox, but getting another strong pitching prospect in Webster and a useful role player in Sands is icing on the cake. DeJesus is just roster fodder in my eyes.
  • I couldn’t be happier that Gonzalez is out of the AL East. He is having a down year — a 114 wRC+ with Boston after three straight years of 140+ and six straight years of 120+ — but the guy still scared the crap out of me whenever he was at the plate. Gonzalez remains a terrifyingly good hitter and not having to see him 18+ times a year is a win for the Yankees.
  • It must be nice to free up all that cash, but that was only half the battle. The Red Sox have been pretty terrible when it comes to signing free agents lately, plus the new Collective Bargaining Agreements mean they can’t just dump all that money into the draft and international free agency. Reinvesting the savings wisely is much, much easier said than done.
  • I fully expect Boston to pursue Nick Swisher this offseason. They’re going to be looking for a first baseman as well as corner outfield help, and he provides both in addition to being a switch-hitter and all that. He makes a ton of sense for them. If a happens, hopefully they give him that Jayson Werth contract he wants.
  • There’s a pretty good chance that starting with 2010, the Red Sox could miss the playoffs for five consecutive years. This season will already be year number three, and although they have the ability to turn it around quickly, I’m not giving the new GM the benefit of the doubt just yet. This isn’t exactly a soft division. (h/t Jamal G.)
  • Here’s the question: are the Red Sox done selling off players? There will absolutely be a market for Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Dustin Pedroia this winter, though I can’t imagine Pedroia would go. Ellsbury sure, Lester maybe, but not Pedroia. That would be a stunner. At the same time, I can seem them signing all three to contract extensions and move forward with them as the core. Will be interesting to watch.

Lastly, I consider the trade to be an indication that Bobby V. will be back as manager next season. Instead of firing him they got rid of Gonzalez, a great player and one of his most outspoken subordinates. These rebuild things tend to happen step-by-step — first the coaches go, then the manager goes, then finally the team realizes it’s the players who needed the change. The Sox fired their pitching coach last week, then skipped right over the “fire the manager” step and dumped some players. Regardless of what happens with Valentine, yesterday was a monumental day for the Red Sox in terms of their rebuilding effort, and that’s generally bad news for the Yankees.

Categories : Musings

95 Comments»

  1. jjyank says:

    I still am taking this all in, this is a ridiculous trade. Tip of my hat to Cherington to get LA to take on all that money in addition to getting actual prospects.

    Despite this being a huge win for Boston in the long term (in my opinion), I’m not worried just yet. As Mike noted and a few of us were discussing yesterday on here, payroll flexibility does not equal success. The Red Sox will have plenty of holes to fill, and they still have to get the right guys to do it.

    • Sweet Dick Willie says:

      IMO, the only way it turns out to be a huge win for Boston is if one of the pitchers develops into a rotation mainstay AND they use the payroll savings to fill the holes created by judiciously signing free agents who can succeed in Boston.

      It could, IMO, just as easily turn out to be a push (the prospects pan out, but they fail to replace A-Gon’s production), or a huge loss (the prospects don’t develop into anything special AND they fail to replace A-Gon’s production).

  2. JohnnyC says:

    If they want to keep Valentine, they’ll have to do two things: extend his contract (a lame duck season would multiply the clubhouse issues) and trade Pedroia (who remains one of his greatest detractors and is poised to be an island on the team if the roster is turned over). I will give the FO the benefit of the doubt and stipulate they are realists. Two more non-contending seasons with Valentine and any remaining veterans from the championship era would be a recipe for complete disaster.

    • Cuso says:

      Your take on Pedroia is based on the one comment made in April “That’s not how we do things around here” and nothing more.

      You have absolutely no proof that Pedroia “remains one of his greatest detractors.” That’s wishful thinking.

  3. Murderers' Row Boat says:

    My favorite part of the entire deal is that all my Boston friends can’t wait to be able to buy tickets to Fenway again. Thanks to Stubhub and “RED SOX NATION” they’ve been priced out since 2008.

    It will be fun to see how long this rebuilding phase lasts.

  4. Kev says:

    It’s going to SUCK to see Swish play for the Sox.

  5. Trish says:

    The first thing I thought when I heard about this trade was “Nick Swisher’s gonna be a Red Sock next year.” It’s pretty rare, though, that a player goes from the Yankees to the Red Sox, usually it’s vice versa. But the Sox have the money to pay Nick (although I seriously doubt he’s going to get Werth money, that’s the media blowing things up) and as was written here they have a definite need for someone with his skills. He’s gonna lose a lot of Twitter followers …

  6. Anthony says:

    Ever since this trade has happened people have been saying here on RAB that Boston isn’t great when it comes to signing FA. I’m curious, what kinds of moves has Boston made that is making everyone say this?

    • Pasta Stumbling Sojo says:

      Is this serious? You could start with the players that were involved in this trade.

    • squeege says:

      Crawford 7 years 140M, complete bust first 2 years. Beckett extension 4 years ~80M, bust. Lackey 5 years ~82M, bust. No decent shortstop in a long time (i.e. Lugo) bust. Mike Cameron bust. J.D. Drew actually pretty good, despite what the Fenway faithful would say.

      Am I missing anyone?

      • YanksFanInBeantown says:

        Edgar Renterwreck!

      • Pasta Stumbling Sojo says:

        Dice K (especially if you include his posting fee). And Jenks, kind of.

      • Mike says:

        None of those deals looked bad at the time, though. Apart from this past offseason, I’ve never been laughing at the moves the Sox made. I don’t remember anyone else doing that either.

        • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky's Webmaster says:

          The Crawford, Beckett, Lackey, Lugo, AND Drew deals didn’t look good at the time. At all.

          You would have given that money to those guys if you were the Yanks? I sure as hell wouldn’t. That “meeting” Cashman had with Crawford scared the bejesus out of me.

          • Mike says:

            I did not want Crawford, but the Yankees were in different positions so I can’t compare it. Crawford had just put up 13.5 wins the previous 2 seasons and Jayson Werth was just signed for 15 million less. 3.3, 3.2, 3.3, 3.8 were Beckett’s xfips the 4 years leading up to his extension. Lackey was 3.8s and considered durable. The JD Drew deal looked fantastic (the guy was coming off a 4.4 win season and had a 9!!! win year a couple season prior) and worked out fine. It’s easy to say that you knew these would blow up, but none of them were out of line with the market.

            Regardless of what your opinion was at the time, the prevailing sentiment was not “OMG the Red Sox are morons and these deals will cripple them.” I don’t remember hearing that at all.

            • Bo Knows says:

              They’ve never been all that good when it came to getting positive value out of FA, but they seem to make it a really big good habit of coming out ahead when it comes to trades and player development.

          • RetroRob says:

            I wasn’t worried since the Yankees clearly had no interest. Cashman just wanted to drive the price up. Mission accomplished. What’s sad is I thought they’d be buried with his contract for years, but somehow the Dodgers messed that all up!

            For the record, though, I do think Crawford will be a productive player again next year.

            • OldYanksFan says:

              Bit not $20m/yr productive.

            • Fred V says:

              I’d still take Crawford in a heartbeat. The player the Sawx put on the field is not the player that inhabits Crawford’s body. He is a game changer; his hitting and baserunning demand attention (rag arm, not so much). Any chance the Yanks could snag him?

        • Anthony says:

          Thanks guys. Although I am surprised, the way some people were talking, made me believe that the Sox’s ineptitude in buying FAs extended further back. The point’s been proven, though. Thanks.

          • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky's Webmaster says:

            There’s the Red Sox and there’s the “Red Sox.” There’s a franchise I began to despise sometime in the past decade and a half, and there’s a franchise with a nice history which I have little problem with.

  7. Murderers' Row Boat says:

    Mike, I can’t see how a Red Sox rebuilding is bad for the Yankees, unless you are talking about a weakening rivalry for a few years. Valentine isn’t exactly Buck Showalter, they still don’t have solid starting pitching and now that there is real competition for free agents big name guys aren’t going to end up in NYC or Boston by default. Even if the Sox are willing to overspend they are now stuck with the image the Yanks had in the 80′s, totally dysfunctional.

    Think about it this way, if you’re a big name pitcher and you’re offered contracts by Boston and other clubs all with similar dollar amounts. The Sox have a manager who will turn on you in a heartbeat, a Front Office that will trade you a year after you sign, and an Owner that will badmouth you after you’re gone. Not exactly an inviting atmosphere.

    • steve s says:

      I like your take on this better than Mike’s. This trade will turn out to parallel the Yanks trade of Henderson back to the A’s in the late 80′s and then the loss of Winfield and the reluctance of the best free agents to consider the Yanks unless they were severely overpaid. It took the Yanks a good six years to become a force again while Ricky put the A’s over the top. Red Sox fans will not be willing to put up with a team in transition any more than Yankee fans would. All this will lead to is diminished revenues and a cycle of less patience in rebuilding and knee-jerk moves to overcompensate. Ultimately, not seeing Gonzales battering Yankee pitching for the next few years is a great result for this Yankee fan.

  8. Jamey says:

    I think Bobby V gets canned after the season. I get the feeling the only reason they haven’t fired him is because they’ve been so publicly adamant that “Nothing is wrong” & Henry’s ego makes him the kind of guy that will say something over & over again & wait till the media is focused on The Patriots & Celtics to go back on his word. I’m willing to bet the ONLY reason this trade was made now was because there’s no way they could guarantee The Dodgers would take all 3 of those contracts in the offseason. I don’t think they could’ve moved either Crawford or Beckett in separate deals without having to eat a ton of money.

  9. Rich in NJ says:

    I hope the Yankees can find a taker for their awful contracts. They probably can’t, but they should try during the offseason.

    • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky's Webmaster says:

      The only contract I’d lose if I could would be Alex’s. I have no issue paying CC or Tex for the next few years.

      • Bubba says:

        I with you on CC but Tex’s contract still scares me.

        • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky's Webmaster says:

          Doesn’t scare me as much. Maybe the hitting continues to be an issue, but he can stand at first base catching lasers forever on my team.

          • Alkaline says:

            Heh. I’m afraid to think of what our infield D would look like with a poor defensive 1st baseman out there. Yikes.

        • jjyank says:

          I’m okay with Tex. If he played a position other than 1B I might be more concerned, but his decline shouldn’t (at least I hope) be as bad as it could be.

        • Bo Knows says:

          Tex only has 4 years left on his deal, he’ll be 36 which isn’t terribly old and considering power doesn’t really leave.

      • Rich in NJ says:

        Tex is not a $23m a year player any more. I would dump his salary in a heartbeat.

    • RetroRob says:

      As I said the other day, the Yankees can follow the Red Sox route. Let Swisher walk. Trade both Cano and Granderson for some prospects. Put CC on waivers. Soriano will be out. They don’t even have to bring back Mariano. Jeter’s contract falls to only $4M after 2013. The only contract they can’t move is A-Rod’s, but not problem, since they’ll have stripped almost all their other expenses.

      So the Yankees will be just like the Red Sox. Greater payroll flexibility and a bad team. Put your head on your Yankee pillow as you go off to sleep knowing there’s cash in Steinbrenner’s pocket and the Yankees are a losing team.

      Yankee fans can be a funny lot. They panic when the Red Sox trade away prospects and sign A-Gon to an expensive contract. Now they panic when A-Gon gets traded away for maybe a starter with some upside, and another guy who is probably a bullpen arm.

  10. Ed says:

    If you look at the collapse as having started last season, they didn’t skip the fire the manager step. They’ve already replaced the manager and GM and the team still sucked.

  11. pistol pete says:

    Yankees have serious problems of their own. They’ve been very ordinary since the break and are not set up well for next year or the years to come. If management wants to stay under the cap they’re in a lot of trouble when you see what other teams are willing to pay free agents when their team’s have to fill a void. Yanks have to make decisions on Swisher this year and Cano and Granderson next year. They won’t have a major league catcher signed at year end. Their starting pitching is scary. CC has shown some warts with his health this year, Andy will be gone, Kuroda and Freddy are FA’s, and Hughes and Nova scare nobody. They have their own bad contract issues starting with ARod’s ridiculous 5 years left at $25/yr. The Steinbrenners better be willing to open their wallets or they’ll get passed by by Baltimore, Tampa, and Boston in the next few years.

    • viridiana says:

      Yanks situation is manageable. But they must start finding room for their homegrown players. Guys like Adams, Z. Almonte, Mustelier, Marshall, Montgomery, Romine, Phelps and perhaps even M. Willaims can help over the next two years. But Yanks have to be willing to let them play. No such willingness yet evident as they scrounge around for the Eppleys, Nixes, etc.
      Here is an idea I wish Mike or someone would look into. How about reducing the payroll for 2013– ahead of the 2014 timetable??

      As is, the 2014 mandate is clouding the next two years. Why not get past it quickly and then start building and investing again by 2014 — also with the help of what looks like a bumper crop of position players. Getting under $189 mill nrext year is possible — though it would likely require losing Swish, Martin and Soriano — perhaps trading Grandy. I think it can be done. May result in down year in 2013. But would be better than 2013-2014 swoon.

      • jjyank says:

        What prospects are they actually blocking right now with the “Eppleys and Nixes”? Almost all the players you listed are not MLB ready. Romine might be, but he was hurt all year. Phelps is already on the MLB team. Maybe Mustelier, but he’s not exactly a top prospect. I don’t see your point.

        • viridiana says:

          I am talking about the next few years. Not saying many guys should already have been brought up– though Mustelier is one and Phelps has been treated as an after-thought, only getting starts in crisis situations. There should also be some effort to give Warren and CoJo some innings — if only to enhance their trade value. At some point beginning next month – OK? — Yanks need to see what they have. The days of fielding nine All-Star are over. Yanks will have to live in new world. Some All-Stars, some veteran gambles and a bunch of young players, some of whom will be stars others role players. They will still have as much payroll as anyone, though they will have outlast the horrible error the 10 year contract to A-Rod.

      • CS Yankee says:

        Zo is likely to peak as a 5th OFer. His glove is almost a DomBrown level and he hasn’t been doing much with the stick.

        The pitching hasn’t done well in the minors this year at all, but the lowA- A OFers look solid, along with just about every level at Catcher. Solid farm, still needing some FA love though except that those LA teams have way overpaid as of late.

    • TomH says:

      You’re correct about this. The “Yankees-situation-is-manageable”–or good, or OK or whatever other view taken of it by people wearing rose colored glasses–is misguided. The Dodgers have entered the free agency market in a big way,apparently, and can easily (at least) match NY dollar for dollar. Sure, follow amateur Board assistant GMs and unload Swisher (i.e., concede him to Boston) and Granderson (oh hell, get rid of Cano too, just to be responsible little would-be GMs).

      Get rid of 50-60 Hrs and replace them with what? These minor leaguers? Choo from Cleveland?

      The hot streak that propelled the Yanks to their big lead increasingly appears to have been an anomaly. The more correct “look” of the team is the one from prior to the streak and during this semi-collapse we’ve been witnessing. And it remains the geriatric ward of the ALEast.

      If the Steinbrenners play ball with the new salary arrangements of MLB, they’ll preside over the dismemberment of the team, which was always the aim of such playing-field-leveling arrangements.

  12. Bubba says:

    I’m just dumbfounded by the lack of money going to the Dodgers. Gonzalez is a great player, but to take on two additional big money contracts on question marks plus give up quality prospects is sort of wacky.

    • Robinson Tilapia aka Melky's Webmaster says:

      After all the shit they’ve been through, they’re taking the extra major step of showing the fans they’re players again. I get it. I now hope Crawford doesn’t cripple THEM.

      • Bubba says:

        I get that, but I felt they could’ve pushed for a better deal. One less quality prospect and all of crawfords 2013 salary maybe.

        Red sox didn’t have a lot options out there.

        • CS Yankee says:

          WTF difference does it make?

          Billionaires don’t need discounts…they just paid 700M$ (or one-third) more than the next bidder in a limited action.

          The net may be that the Dodgers lose picks, pay more than the Yankees ever did in revenue sharing and just may not have enough to pay the young Ker what the market will bring him.

          Possibe win: Yankees

          • Bubba says:

            Better deal for Dodgers means worse deal for the Red Sox. That’s the difference.

            • paul says:

              Absolutely crazy that the Dodgers gave up good prospects and took back no money. Idiotic, even, IMO. Boston gave up an equal (and maybe even a lesser) package to get Gonzalez before he signed a large contact, had a down year, and became a possible issue in their clubhouse. What kind of business people run that team? I know they wanted Gonzalez, but why rush to overpay. Sox should have forced them to take the Lackey contract too, since LA apparently didn’t care all that much about what they had to give up.

              • GT Yankee says:

                I respectfully disagree about the package the Sox sent to the Padres being equal to or lesser than what they are getting back now from LA. Just Anthony Rizzo alone at this point appears to have tremendous upside. Not to mention the perceived value of Casey Kelly at the time. He has not trended upward in prospect rankings but is making his first major league start this week, so we’ll see. I think there were one or two other decent prospects as well.

  13. Robinson Tilapia aka Melky's Webmaster says:

    I think it’s good for them to get out of that ridiculous Crawford contract, but what happens from here on out remains to be seen. Of course, the boobirds and those completely lacking in nuance on here already have Swisher in their lineup TODAY, plus somehow building a World Series champion by next year. Easier said than done. They’ve done half a good job at dismantling. Putting it back together, especially with that franchise’s track record, is not going to be easy.

    Please put Jon Lester on waivers and have no one else claim him but the Yankees. We’ll gladly take that off your hands.

    • mustang says:

      Agree 100%.

      “plus somehow building a World Series champion by next year. Easier said than done.”

      How fast have people forgotten that it took them 86 years to win championship!!!!

    • Paul VuvuZuvella says:

      Agree. At this point Humpty Dumpty has sat on their great Wall and has had his great Fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men have their work cut out for them.

    • CS Yankee says:

      When I first read this I misread it being Lackey and I thought you were insane…Lester can come play over in our yard any day.

  14. pat says:

    Hopefully we can really drive up the price for Swisher and make Chernington pay out the ass

  15. NYinTX says:

    ” Blame Robert Andino.”

    I blame A-Rod.

  16. mustang says:

    The Yankees most formidable rival just dismantle their team how is this not a good day for the Yankees?

    At one point it took the Red Sox 86 years to win a championship so nice move, I wish them no luck with the rebuilding and continue with your recent FA formula by signing Swisher to 100 million +.

    • GT Yankee says:

      Agreed 100%. Not to mention that the 2013 free agent pool beyond a very risky Josh Hamilton is underwhelming. There are no C.C.’s, Tex’s, Beltre’s. Plus I’d be generally fearful of anyone coming from that offensive driven park the Rangers play in. I can’t imagine they’d chase Bourne after the Crawfold debacle (speed guy approaching 30 or so). God knows how many of the 2014 free agents will be locked up by their existing teams (a trend that seems to be growing to secure younger productive players-See Kemp & Hammels). I don’t know if they have the necessary pieces, but could they be positioning themselves for a run at (gulp) Justin Upton who could be a “monster” with the green wall there. Especially given the lack of really good immediate FA options.

  17. hogsmog says:

    MASTERSTROKE…

    actually, yeah :P

  18. Wayne says:

    If redsox will have nick swisher then what will Yankees do with that money. Do Yankees get at least a draft pick over swisher signing? Probably not since they won’t offer arbitration in all likely hood.

    • JohnnyC says:

      Actually it’s likely they make a qualifying offer (13.2 million). There’s a non-zero chance Swisher accepts, in which case the Yankees would have best-case scenario…a 1 year deal before the 2014 payroll crunch.

    • CS Yankee says:

      I think they should clearly offer arbitration…regardless of the coin, it a one year deal. This buys more options while likely getting his best career year in the year before the restrictions.

      I’m thinking its a no-brainer. Also, wouldn’t be surprised if MFIKY went to Fenway and bailey dons the Dodger Blue.

    • Bo Knows says:

      Use it to pay Robbie, and to buy plane Mid-season tickets to NY for Slade, and Austin after they get off to a torrid season in Trenton.

  19. CS Yankee says:

    I think when you talk about their failures with FA’s, you must realize the failures that they coveted and couldn’t ink, including;
    1) Conteras…recuited and scouted heavily by BoSox, Ninja & CO close the deal at the 11th-hour.
    2) Arod…lead to the “Evil Empire” quote
    3) Damon…drew a line of 4/40 due to their C signing an extension a year earlier, Cash counters with Godzilla package (4/52), Damon leaves and gets blamed.
    4) Teix…Angels and BoSox drew a line in the sand), Ninja waited for those lines and closed the deal.

    These (I believe) led to the Dice-K posting fee (LOL) and the Crawford and Lackey way above market signings. Its okay to stick to your guns, but they seem to try and outfox the fox which leads to bad decisions and contracts more often than not.
    4)

    • CS Yankee says:

      err, not “failures that they coveted”, but “failures to sign who they coveted”.

      • Gonzo says:

        It was Contreras that lead to Lucchino calling the Yankees the “Evil Empire” back in 2002. However the phrase was used in reference to the Yankees before then.

  20. David Brown says:

    I really disagree with the opinion that this salary dump will help the Red Sox, if Epstein was running things I would agree but he isn’t. What Boston did was throw the baby out with the bath water, Epstein, Francona, Yuk, Papelbon, those guys who were proven winners were sent or allowed to go packing packing as well. I also do not think Ellsbury (Boras Client) and Ortiz will be in Boston two years from now. Beyond that, does anyone think they could use Anthony Rizzo, Josh Reddick and Jed Lowrie about now?

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      Epstein’s the guy who got Boston into this mess. Cherington miraculously got the Red Sox out of it with this trade.

      FWIW, I’m not calling Epstein a bad GM at all, but he made his share of mistakes.

  21. blingnit says:

    Other than getting rid of some headaches and a ton of salary, I don’t see this as a great deal in and of itself. Yes, they did pick up some POTENTIAL pitching talent…but hey, they Yanks have tons of that and it all seems to be on the DL at the moment. A team can’t bank on potential. According to scouts, the position players in the trade are most like utility types. If the pitching works out in the next few, great, but the Sox did get rid of a great current offensive force.

    I don’t see any great FA’s coming up during the offseason; therefore, there’s no quick fix for the Sox. Further, if they want Swisher and his pending massive contract, they can have him. I don’t see that happening, though, because that puts them a step back to where they were.

    Alas, this will be an interesting winter for the Sox.

    I don’t see how diminished Sox competition hurts the Yanks–the Yanks still have Tampa and a resurgent Orioles team to contend with. And if Toronto finds some pitching…

  22. dkidd says:

    regardless of the eventual outcome, i am blown away by the BALLS of this move. i loathe that franchise as much as anyone, but i think you have to give huge props to the red sox for this

    • blingnit says:

      One can only think the situation in Boston was untenable that such a move was necessary. I think the Sox have created a massive talent void for the next couple years.

      I also heard some talk that they want to get rid of Lester and Ellsbury.

      Really?

      The craziest thing I heard related to that is that want to work a Lester/Ellsbury to Seattle trade for Hernandez. As great as Hernandez is–despite the scary diminishing velocity–I’m not sure how that would work out.

  23. Hardy says:

    A couple of random thoughts:

    - The Red Sox might lose something like the No. 12 pick in next year’s draft if they sign Swisher or another compensable Free Agent.

    - The luxury tax threshold will probably be a hard cap for the Red Sox from 2014. So theys must heavily invest in the 2013 team to put all their ‘savings’ back into the team.

    • Bo Knows says:

      Is that a protected pick? If not, then the Yanks get a nice extra draft spot

      • RetroRob says:

        I don’t think they lose any pick. The Yankees, however, gain a pick.

        • Hardy says:

          If the Yankees make a qualifying offer (1 year at about 13m), the signing team loses their top pick. Only the first 10 picks in round 1 are protected, so the Red Sox would lose the No. 12 pick.
          The team that loses the player gets a pick in the supplemental round (after round 1), it does not matter which team signs the player.

        • Gonzo says:

          They do lose a pick. That pick does not go to the Yankees though. It just disappears into the aether.

  24. OMG! Bagels! says:

    We were all freaked out when they signed Crawford etc etc… They were supposed to take it all last year based on what great acquisitions they made in the off-season. Now everything is going to be great for them based on this. Every team on paper is a different team on the field but people get incredibly insane over things the Red Sox do based on what it looks like on paper.

    It’s a big trade and if it works out for LA, I’m happy for them but don’t really care what the RS can or will do with all that $$$. I’d hate to see Swish over there, but it will be funny to see how RS fans react to that since they seem to have an irrational hatred of him now.

    • RetroRob says:

      That’s basically just what I said up above. Yankee fans freak out when the Red Sox trade for Gonzalez and Crawford because it’ll make them a better team. Now they freak out when they trade them away because it’ll make them a better team.

      Really.

  25. Mike c says:

    They put Lester and ellsbury on waivers too FWIW

  26. Brian S. says:

    I think you could pencil in Gonzalez in for a 120 wRC+ and the best 1B defense out there next season, and Crawford with a 115 wRC+ and a fair amout of stolen bases. I’m sure they are glad to get rid of salary but it’s not going to be easy to replace that production unless they sign Hamilton and Swisher or make a trade giving up more assets. Good move for Boston but they did get rid of some good players. Beckett on the other hand…we’ll see. He was fantastic last year but his velocity is down and he has back problems.

    • Hardy says:

      Beckett’s peripherals are still average to above average and he is owed just 31.5m over the next two years. Maybe he gets only 2/24 as a free agent this offseason, but his contract is not an albatross.

      • Gonzo says:

        Yup. Even if he is a 4 or a 5 pitcher going forward, they are not locked into that deal for too much longer. He’s just 32 years old and might be better than that for the next two years depending on the severity of his back.

  27. Dave says:

    Beckett is also going from the AL East to the NL West. And with his even/odd year thing, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him put up huge numbers next year.

  28. Elmgrovegnome says:

    Good for the Yankees on this one. The Red Sox are going to have to build through the draft and trades and it wont happen overnight. They guy here who said that Free Agents wont want to go there is right….as long as Bobby v. is around.

    There is still going to be dissension in the clubhouse. This trade will cause resentment from some….relief for others. But in the end it does not make Boston look too appealing for outsiders.

  29. parmesan says:

    I don’t see how much of this is “bad news for the Yankees” beyond the fact that the Sox will have a shitload of money to bully them with in free agency now, especially considering the asinine goal of 189MM in 2014.

    From the perspective of production on the field they dumped 1 of the best first baseman in the league and a couple guys with quality track records for a wing and a prayer. They hope the prospects they got will hit to a major degree (best case), or a league-average degree in a worser case. They hope they can go out into free agency and hit on some players where they’ve been unable to do so in th recent past. With their resources I think the odds are are mostly in their favor, but it’s hard to be sacred in the slightest here.

  30. Vic says:

    Astute as usual, Mike, except that there is no chance Valentine returns, absolutely none.
    As for Cherington, he and latter-day Theo have made made one bonehead move after another. There’s no reason to think that with Ben on the phone the Sox’ next moves will be any better. My prediction is that this team won’t be heard from for a long time. I’ll miss them. Tampa Bay is a far less inspiring rival.
    And it’s okay with me if Swisher, the Pretend Baseball Player, winds up in Boston next year. My God, they’ll hate him.

    • John Bonanno says:

      Swisher will NOT end up in Boston. He will do them no good as an expensive stop gap in a rebuilding year. They would never pay him what he is looking for at this point.

  31. John Bonanno says:

    After watching Carl Crawford try to hit for the last two years, I am amazed he ever hit well at all. He can’t make good contact with anything on the outside corner of the plate. His swing is long and slow. He has been reluctant or unable to steal bases (47 to 18 in 2010 with TB to 2011 in Boston). What happened to that guy who used to kill the Red Sox?

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