A new era for the Boston Red Sox will begin today.
The massive nine-player trade between the Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers was completed early this morning, and it will send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and $12 million to LA for first baseman (and free agent-to-be) James Loney and four minor leaguers: pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, outfielder Jerry Sands and infielder Ivan DeJesus.
My head is still spinning. And I LOVE this deal. It is the Sox admitting they made some huge financial miscues over the last few years (and it completely blows up Theo Epstein's 2010 moves: the extension to Beckett, the Gonzalez trade, and the Crawford signing), and it's time to retool. I knew they would find a taker for Beckett. He had to move, but I was sure it would be this winter.
But I am absolutely floored that they found ANY taker for Carl Crawford. He just had Tommy John surgery on Thursday, and the Sox were on the hook for six more years at $120 million.
The Sox were reluctant to part with Gonzo, but it's clear the deal would not have happened had he not been involved. He is still owed $127 million, but his numbers have slightly regressed in 2012. A move back to Southern California maybe just what he needs.
Both De La Rosa and Webster are projected as number 2 type starters. But the trade was done for the benefit of getting those massive salaries off the books than getting anything close to equal value for those four players going to Los Angeles.
This is without question the biggest trade in team history, and it is the first time two players (Crawford and Gonzalez) owed more than $100 million in salary have been traded. It will not become official until it is approved by the commissioner's office. LA is taking on over $260 million in salaries. The Red Sox HAD to make this trade. It now gives them financial flexibility, and they don't have to sign big name free agents. They can bring in players via trade as well, and give younger players (like Ryan Kalish) a shot. The Sox can bring in lesser players, like they did in 2003 such as Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller and David Ortiz, and give them a chance to shine.
Everyone involved cleared waivers, with Beckett waiving his 10/5 right to veto, and Crawford, who had a no-trade clause, waived that, too.
As far as I am concerned, this is a gift from heaven. The financial stranglehold that was crippling the Red Sox, and bad clubhouse mix, has been wiped away by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who seem to have a bottomless pit of dough right now, and their new management are spending like drunken sailors on leave.
And we thank them for it.
But does this massive overhaul give Bobby Valentine another year as manager? That is still to be determined.
Today is a good day to be a Red Sox fan, and that hasn't happened in a good long while. A new era is dawning.