|Unloading Adrian Gonzalez's huge contract would certainly give the Red Sox more options. (Getty Images)|
The blockbuster five-for-four trade between the Dodgers and Red Sox that's in the ultra-serious stage at this point represents a wonderful chance for Boston to hit the reset button.
If anyone needs to start over, it's the Red Sox, who are going on a full year of abject disappointment starting with their chicken-and-beer September and continuing throughout the bulk of this brutal season. No one is placing the blame on any one individual player, but it behooves them to import a different mix. This deal, as currently constituted (or anything near to what's now on the table), will do just that.
The monster trade, which one baseball official called "the biggest deal in modern baseball history,'' would send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto plus cash to Los Angeles for James Loney and four young players -- Rubby De La Rosa, Jerry Sands, Allen Webster and Ivan De Jesus. In terms of dollars, it may be the biggest, with about $270 million in contracts remaining going to LA. (minus the cash the Dodgers will receive).
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Folks involved cautioned that the trade wasn't quite done yet, but it seems like that at least a significant portion of this deal will get done. One possible holdup being mentioned are the no-trade powers of Beckett and Crawford, but neither is especially like to quash the mega-deal, especially Crawford, who was believed to always want to go to L.A. in the first place.
We all know why the Dodgers are doing this deal: because they can. They have oodles of cash, really want Gonzalez and are willing to absorb lots of financial obligations to get him. They probably figure Beckett will do better in the National League and Crawford will do better out of Boston, and they are probably right about that. But what they really want is A-Gon.
What the Red Sox want is to get out from under their financial morass. And this is an excellent start.
De La Rosa and especially Webster are nice prospects. But that's almost beside the point. The main objective here is to clear out the clubhouse, and the payroll.
Gonzalez is a terrific player, but he didn't not seem overly thrilled in Boston. He played well but wasn't the superstar they hoped for. More to the point, he couldn't seem to get over the soap-operatic aspect of Boston, which is most of it.
Beckett needs to go as the procurer of the chicken and the beer, the player of golf after a missed start and the leader of a rotation gone mostly awry.
And Crawford, it turns out, wasn't really a fit in Beantown to begin with.
Even better for Boston, Gonzalez has $130-million to go, Crawford $100 million or so and Beckett $35 million.
The amount of cash going to L.A. isn't known yet, and that will affect just how great a deal this is from Boston. But regardless, they needed to move on.
The Dodgers "print money,'' as one competing executive said. But since Boston just makes a lot of it, the Red Sox are better to start over, even if they will now need an outfielder, a starting pitcher and more.
The group they had wasn't getting it done. Time to figure out something different. This certainly is different.