The Los Angeles Dodgers have put all their poker chips in the center of the table and are hoping to catch an ace on the river.
They made a blockbuster deal that sent James Loney and four minor-leaguers to Boston for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto.
The Dodgers are taking on a ton of money as Gonzalez, Crawford, and Beckett are owed $250 million collectively after this season.
This move is something Dodger fans have been waiting quite some time for. Their previous owner, Frank McCourt, was too busy buying yachts, resorts, and luxuries to please himself.
He could care less about putting the best team on the field.
Things have changed quickly with the new Dodgers' ownership group.The Guggenheim Baseball Management group purchased the Dodgers for over $2 billion and they can care less about writing checks.
There is one thing on their mind: contending for World Series. (Not one, not two, not three, not four...)
The Dodgers have been lacking an All-Star first baseman for a long time. Adrian Gonzalez is arguably the most talented first baseman the Dodgers have had since Steve Garvey.
Gonzalez is a four-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glover, and was the AL Silver Slugger choice last season.
Over his last six full seasons, he has hit .297 and averaged 31 home runs and 103 runs batted in.
He is one of the best first baseman in all of baseball.
This season he is batting .300 with 15 HRs and 86 RBI.
Nobody in the NL has driven in as many runs as Gonzo this year.
Adding Gonzalez to a lineup with Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier, and Shane Victorino is going to be a scary siting for opposing pitchers.
The big concern with the Dodgers down the stretch will be their pitching.
They are hoping Josh Beckett will enjoy a change of scenery. This season has been a struggle for the former three-time All-Star.
The best formula to improve pitching: subtract the AL East and add the NL West.
A lot of people forget that Beckett had one of his best seasons in 2011.
He was 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP.
He finished in the top six in the AL in ERA and WHIP.
Beckett brings a good resume with him to Los Angeles and has proven to be one of the better big-game pitchers in baseball.
He has helped two franchises win World Series.
In 2003 as a member of the Florida Marlins he was named the World Series MVP.
He was 1-1 with a 1.10 ERA and threw a complete game shutout at Yankee Stadium in Game 6 to bring home the franchises' second World Series Trophy.
In 2007 with the Boston Red Sox he was named the ALCS MVP.
He was a key part in Boston coming back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Cleveland Indians in seven games. The Red Sox won game one and then dropped the next three.
Beckett took the mound in Game 5 against C.C. Sabathia and dominated. He went eight innings allowing only one run and struck out 11.
He was 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and had 18 strikeouts to only one walk in the ALCS.
Beckett's career postseason stats speak for itself.
He is 7-3 with a 3.07 ERA and a 0.940 WHIP in 14 playoff appearances.
He has three career complete game shutouts in thirteen career postseason starts.
Beckett clearly was not happy in Boston and a change of scenery could help him get back to his 2011 form. (Just ask A.J. Burnett how a change of scenery can help a pitcher.)
He is a very capable pitcher and will be a nice addition to the back end of the rotation. He is scheduled to make his Dodger debut Monday night at home against the Colorado Rockies.
The Dodgers have the third best ERA (3.37) in the majors.
Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, and Josh Beckett will be the five starters for the Dodgers down the stretch. (Dodger fans took a big sigh of relief after learning Billinglsey just has elbow inflammation after being pulled from his last start.)
Joe Blanton will be used if someone gets hurt and will be coming out of the pen after the acquisition of Beckett.
Kenley Jansen is the horse at the back end of the bullpen and is ninth in the NL with 25 saves. He is second among all NL relievers with 85 strikeouts.
Ronald Belisario, Randy Choate, Brandon League, and Jamey Wright round up the bullpen.
The Dodgers currently have the fourth best bullpen ERA (3.15) in the NL.
We all know games are not won on paper, but after the acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto, the Dodgers are in a win-now mindset.
This is something the organization was lacking under Frank McCourt's ownership.
My oh my how things have changed for the Dodgers in less than a year.
They acquired Hanley Ramirez, Randy Choate, Brandon League, Shane Victorino, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto this season.
Dodger co-owner Mark Walter said it best talking to the media this afternoon. "We want to win tomorrow, and next year, and for a decade after that."
Magic Johnson also addressed the media earlier today and put a big smile on the face of Dodger fans. "We did this for our fans and we want to win now."
The Dodgers have all of their chips at the center of the table, now we will find out if they are bluffing or have pocket aces.112492