Commissioner Bud Selig has officially approved the deal that puts Adrian Gonzalez in the cleanup spot of Don Mattingly's Dodger lineup tonight against the Marlins. Dodger fans holding tickets for tonight's game will be pleasantly surprised at the new all-star manning first base.
The colossal trade, one of the biggest in the history of the game, came to fruition after Los Angeles claimed Adrian Gonzalez off of waivers from the Boston Red Sox. The move constitutes efforts by ownership to dump large contracts in favor of essentially re-starting the entire franchise. It's a wise move on Boston's part as they get to build their team the way Texas did, from the ground up. In addition to Gonzalez, the Dodgers acquired outfielder Carl Crawford, starting pitcher Josh Beckett, and utility infielder Nick Punto.
The move means Boston will save more than $250 million through 2018, when both Gonzalez and Crawford become free agents again. Beckett is signed through 2014, while only one year remains on Punto's contract. This of course means that Los Angeles is shouldering Beckett, who is owed over $30 million over the next two years and is nursing a 5-11 record along with a porous 5.23 ERA. Though, last season saw Beckett put up gawdy numbers (2.89 ERA and the third highest strikeout total of his career), so Beckett still has time to go back to actually earning his millions.
Crawford, the former Tampa Bay Ray phenom hasn't been his self since signing his mega deal with the Red Sox in 2010. Owner John Henry never really wanted to sign Crawford, but general manager Theo Epstein made the move anyway. Now that Epstein has moved on to the Cubs ownership wanted Crawford gone. Regardless of his talents (and they are many), Crawford's contract is so bad it makes me wonder what in the world Epstein was thinking. He made $10 million In 2010, and that has ballooned to $19.5 million this season. Next season he starts making $20 million, which holds fairly steady until his contract expires in 2018. Those kind of back-loaded contracts rarely ever pay off for anyone but the player.
Crawford is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery and isn't expected to return until May, so he will have absolutely no effect on this year. Some doubt he can return to form, but it has happened before, and good environments tend to bring the best out of players. Hanley Ramirez seems to have benefitted from the move to Los Angeles.
The new era of big moves in Los Angeles continues to roll onward.