The Boston Red Sox look to be preparing for a fire sale when this season is completed. The team is absolutely reeling.
Years of modeling their payroll off of the Yankee model has finally begun to take its toll (though some would argue that it began last year). New general manager Ben Cherington appears to be trying to put the Theo Epstein behind him and the franchise as a whole. As Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston tweeted today, the Red Sox are in talks with the Los Angeles Dodgers to acquire all-star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez AND all-star outfielder Carl Crawford in addition to Josh Beckett AND Nick Punto.
Los Angeles has been cutthroat about returning to the now-ancient Dodger tradition of winning championships. Earlier they claimed Cliff Lee off trade waivers, but were obviously unable to get the deal done, as the trade deadline was nearly a month ago. The two teams have 72 hours from the time the waiver was claimed today to work out a deal. It likely won't happen within that time frame, but it could very well happen this winter.
It's pretty standard fare for a team to put players on the wire, especially toward the end of the season. The Dodgers also happen to have a deep farm system (full disclosure: the Dodgers always have a deep farm system), and are as desperate for immediate success now as the Red Sox were two years ago when they signed Gonzalez and Crawford to a combined $296 million, with each player receiving a 7 year deal.
It's no surprise that the Bobby Valentine-managed Red Sox are under-performing. It's Bobby V. He's cool and funny, and does well on television, but he lost his managing abilities a long time ago. With that said, it's no surprise that the Dodgers are throwing their hats into the ring, because this franchise is finally dead serious about returning to form.
Adrian Gonzalez isn't necessarily overpaid if you use modern baseball economics -- he may have "only" hit 27 home runs last season but he still batted .338, which placed him 2nd in the American League. He can field the ball to boot. He isn't justifying his contract, sure... but neither is Albert Pujols; and I'm still waiting for when that conversation is going to take place. Regardless, Pujols is still a great player, and so is Adrian Gonzalez. Beckett is surely a fixer-upper, and Punto is neither here nor there in the grander scheme of things.
Meanwhile, Carl Crawford seems to be the most directly affected of the entire team y the poisonous atmosphere of being a Red Sock in the 2010's. At 31, he is still fundamentally capable of everything Boston signed him to do, but Boston might be (wisely) looking to sell off these guys for a bevy of prospects. And the Dodgers, with Magic Johnson in-tow, are trying to find their way through Lakerland to re-stake their claim on Southern California.
The Dodgers obviously think they can make a serious offer that Boston would accept, and the Red Sox would be smart to force a short re-building mode to ensure future success in a division with Baltimore and Toronto closing the gap.
72 hours... GO!