Word spreads quickly when there is a potential blockbuster trade being discussed. This afternoon news first broke that the Los Angeles Dodgers were awarded the waiver claims for a pair of Boston Red Sox players, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and right-hander Josh Beckett. Just a few hours later, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com first reported that the two teams were discussing a blockbuster deal in which the Dodgers would acquire both Gonzalez and Beckett, along with left fielder Carl Crawford and utility infielder Nick Punto. He admitted that hurdles remained before a deal could be finalized but the two sides were getting close.
The deal, if completed, would represent a major change in direction for a Boston team that has been a major disappointment this season while coping with one public relations nightmare after another. It would also signify the first step towards rebuilding this team. This wouldn’t be strictly a salary dump, however.
According to the latest reports from WEEI’s Alex Speier, talks have progressed far enough along that the two sides are in the process of reviewing medical records. In its current structure, the Red Sox would receive five players in the deal – first baseman James Loney, shortstop Ivan De Jesus, outfielder Jerry Sands, right-hander Rubby De La Rosa, and a top prospect (believed to be right-hander Allen Webster).
The Dodgers would be assuming a great deal of added salary if the deal is completed as has been rumored. Gonzalez is slated to earn $21 Million per year through the 2016 season. He’ll then earn $21.5 Million for 2017 and 2018. Beckett is owed $15.75 Million each year through 2014. Given his 10/5 rights, he’d need to approve the deal before it could be completed but with the turmoil he’s endured in Boston this season it seems unlikely that he’d elect to block the trade. Crawford, who just underwent Tommy John Surgery earlier this week, is owed $20 Million for 2013, $20.25 Million for 2014, $20.5 Million in 2015, $20.75 Million in 2016, and $21 Million in 2017. Punto is owed $1.5 Million for next season.
All told, that amounts to $262.5 Million, not counting whatever remains on their respective 2012 salaries. Boston will presumably pick up a portion of that amount, though figures have not been released yet.
The deal likely will not be completed tonight (though Gonzalez, Punto, and Loney have all been pulled from the starting lineup).
Update, 11:30 PM EST: As we near midnight on the East Coast, word is that neither Beckett or Crawford have been approached about waiving their no trade protection in order to complete the deal. Beckett has 10/5 rights (10 years in the Major Leagues, 5 with his current team) which permits him to veto any potential deal. Crawford reportedly has a limited no-trade clause build into his contract which, according to Jon Heyman, includes the Dodgers as one of the three teams he can block deals to. Both players are still expected to approve the deal, though nothing is certain at this point.