Red Sox agree to ship Beckett, Crawford, and A-Gon to the Dodgers

The Red Sox and Dodgers have agreed upon a mega deal that will send Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers as part of a nine-player deal and are waiting for approval from Beckett and Crawford to make it official, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Aside from Crawford, A-Gon, and Beckett, the Red Sox will also be sending infielder Nick Punto to the Dodgers in exchange for James Loney, Rubby De La Rosa (as a player to be named later since he did not clear waivers), Jerry Sands, Ivan De Jesus, and Allen Webster, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com and Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.

The deal is still technically held up, but they still need approval from Beckett because of his 10-and-5 rights and Crawford because the Dodgers are one of three teams he can block a trade to, Heyman reported. Both players are expected to approve the deal though.

That’s a total of $271.5 million in salary going from Boston to Los Angeles with the Dodgers on the hook for $260 million of it, according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. That’s quite a bit of money coming off the books for the Red Sox.

In one fell swoop the Dodgers have upgraded their team for a playoff run, showing that the new ownership is not afraid to spend. The Red Sox have also gotten rid of a few trouble spots.

Beckett has become the face of the disfunction of the team. He has become a cancer in the clubhouse, ineffective and inconsistent on the mound, and is still owed $31.5 million for two seasons after this year.

Crawford is on the DL with a major injury and might not even be ready for the start of next season. On top of that things have not gone right between him and ownership ever since he signed his huge deal, of which there is still five years and $102.5 million left.

Gonzalez has been the most productive of the three, but he was the ring leader in the attempted coup to have manager Bobby Valentine fired. He’s also lost some power recently and is owed $127 million over the next six years.

The biggest name coming back to the Sox is obviously Loney, but the first baseman with a career OPS+ of 105 seems to be just a body to play first base for the Sox until he becomes a free agent after this season.

The biggest name amongst the prospects is probably De La Rosawho was rated No. 90 overall by Baseball America going into the 2011 season. He has missed most of the last year due to Tommy John Surgery, but he’s healthy now and has the potential to be a No. 2 or 3 starter by next season.

Webster was named the No. 95 prospect in baseball by Baseball America before this season. He has put up solid numbers in Double-A this season and will likely start next season in Triple-A.

Sands was a solid hitting outfielder in the minors, but has a 96 OPS+ in 251 plate appearances over two seasons with the Dodgers. De Jesus seems like a middle infielder thrown in to take Punto’s place.

The deal seems like a win for the Red Sox who managed to get rid of a ton of salary that was mostly sunk on two of the three disgruntled players. A-Gon might be the only one they would miss and it seems like he was included in the deal just to entice the Dodgers to pay the enormous sum of $260 million. They aren’t rebuilding though as this kind of payroll flexibility should allow them to retool quickly.

Despite the fact that I really like this deal for the Red Sox it’s hard to kill the Dodgers too much on this. Taking on this amount of salary seems likely to come back and hunt them later, especially if Crawford never returns to prominence, but they upgrade their lineup big time with A-Gon right now. Crawford is an example of the type of risk the Red Sox originally took on in Mike Lowell in the original deal that brought Beckett to Boston where he seems like a sunk cost but could be rejuvenated in a new market.

Beckett also seems like the perfect example of a pitcher who needs to move to the National League. I’m thinking that he could have an A.J. Burnett like resurgence where he will greatly benefit from a move to the inferior offensive league and a chance to get away from a combative news media.

I think this has potential to be bad for the Dodgers in the long term, but it helps their immediate playoff chances and there is a chance that it ends up working out for them in the long run too if Crawford rebounds. The Red Sox are the big winners though because they dump their problems and give themselves a ton of payroll flexibility. Expect that $260 million to be burning a hole in their pockets (expect them to get involved with Josh Hamilton or Zack Greinke or both).

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