Monday, August 27, 2012

Red Sox Clean House: Trade Beckett, Gonzalez, Crawford, and Punto

The people spoke, and the Red Sox listened. They traded Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto for the Dodgers. The Sox also sent $12 million in cash, but will save $270 million in salary due to this deal. The Dodgers sent first baseman James Loney and four prospects to Boston.

This move, by itself, does not immediately help the Red Sox. It does, however, open up the payroll and roster to allow the Red Sox to improve.

Getting rid of Josh Beckett is a positive on and off the field. Beckett has been a lousy pitcher, and an utter shitbag off the field. Good riddance.

I don't think Adrian Gonzalez was traded because he sent a text to owners. I think he was traded because his contract was big, but he still has some value to a team like the Dodgers.

Gonzalez's production will be tough to replace, but lately he's reminded me of Phil Kessel. The numbers are great, but you watch him play and aren't that impressed. When David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were at their peak in Boston, they got big hits in big situations in big games. Gonzalez's big hits are few and far between.

There aren't any top 1B available in free agency this off-season, but Gonzalez's meaningful production can be replaced from other positions. And don't forget, the Red Sox get more production from DH than most teams.

Carl Crawford looked good since returning from injury. But his contract was ludicrous. Even at his absolute best, he wasn't worth what he was getting paid.

After getting surgery, Crawford had potential to be a good, productive, solid player for the Sox. But I'd rather have the cash to go after someone who has more concrete potential to be more productive. Someone who gets on base, has some power. Someone more likely to perform here.

I'd also rather spend that money on pitching.

On paper, this is a crappy trade for the Sox. But paper is only good for drawing pictures and wiping your ass. The Sox got rid of a horrible pitcher, and three bloated contracts. They lost Nick Punto, too, but what does that matter?

The Sox now have the freedom to fundamentally reshape this team. They can keep Ortiz and Ellsbury (if they want to). They can hang on to Cody Ross. Build a rotation and a bullpen. They have more prospects in the stable to make a trade for a starting pitcher.

So the Sox aren't better right now, but they now have the capability to be better than they were.