Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Not Joshing: LA-Boston Trade Could Be Bad For Yanks' Future

Beckett and Gonzalez are gone, but the Yankees should still be cautiously aware of Boston's next move (Boston Globe)

I never thought I'd say this, but I really hope Josh Beckett has some great years ahead of him.  And Adrian Gonzalez.  And Carl Crawford. 

And every Yankees fan should do the same (unless you hate Beckett, I allow exceptions for that). 

Because good seasons from those three guys might be the only way the Dodgers-Red Sox trade will be considered fair in the annals of baseball history. 

Yesterday, David Fine accurately described this move by Boston as reloading.  While it pains them to do so, the team is dumping veteran players with high salaries and multiple seasons of commitment in the hope of using the money saved to reset the franchise.  So yes, you can rejoice in the fact that the Red Sox have given up this year. 

But you would be bold to rejoice for the next two.  Or three. 

This doesn't have to do with the players that Boston acquired on their end of the deal.  James Loney puts up average offensive numbers, but leaves a lot to be desired from a first baseman.  The bigger pieces of pitching prospects Rubby De La Rosa and Allan Webster, both regarded as strong prospects in the Dodgers system.  De La Rosa, 23 and recovering from Tommy John surgery, could become an asset in the Red Sox rotation as soon as next year.  According the Fangraphs, De La Rosa's average fastball in 2011 (when he pitched 60.2 innings) was 96.3 MPH, ranking in the top 20 in baseball.  His slider and changeup, though, both rate above average.

But again, Boston's side of the deal doesn't have to do with the players.  It's about the money freed up, somewhere around $60 million this offseason and north of $40 million for each of the next 5 years.  That's a lot of dough. 

They'll use some, as David wrote, to keep Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury and Cody Ross.  They have young guns like Will Middlebrooks and Ryan Lavernaway manning third base and catcher, respectively.  Jon Lester, Clay Bucholtz, and John Lackey (plus De La Rosa) will be around next year. 

For any other lingering questions (like left field long-term, shortstop, one other starter and especially bullpen), they have the flexibility to pick and choose who they sign.  They can bid for Josh Hamilton, and hope that his injuries will be minimized when he's parked at the base of the Green Monster.  They can go after Kyle Lohse for a rotation spot.  Plenty of bullpen arms are available. 

Of course, this depends heavily on Red Sox GM Ben Cherington.  He controls that money, he decides (with ownership approval) where it will be invested.  The Red Sox haven't "reloaded" in quite some time.  This will be a test for the organization as it is for Cherington. 

To put it simply, the history-making Dodgers-Red Sox trade hasn't ended until all that money is spent. 

And when it is, and if it is done well, pray that Gonzalez is still hitting .398 with RISP in Los Angeles.


I'm really not rooting for or against Gonzo or Beckett or any pieces L.A. picked up.

They are in L.A. right now, and I couldn't care less how they perform because it has little impact on who the Bo Sox will sign with their newfound cap flexibility.

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