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Wait, we’re judging the Dodgers-Red Sox trade now? Really?

Sep 25, 2012, 9:13 AM EDT

adrian gonzalez reuters Reuters

Dancing on the Dodgers’ grave, from the San Francisco Business Times:

The Dodgers’ Big Trade has been a bust — and that is good news for the Giants and baseball in general.  The Big Trade that the Dodgers pulled off Aug. 26 loaded that team with hot shot players Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford and $260 million in additional salary.

It was designed to propel the Dodgers to win the National League West and, ultimately, the World Series. “We want to win now,” said Dodger co-owner Magic Johnson. But since that Saturday in August the Dodgers have played worse, winning 10 of 26 games for a .384 winning percentage. That compares to the club’s pre-trade .543 winning percentage.

The lesson, according to the writer, is that sometimes money just doesn’t buy wins.

Which, sure, I’ll grant that. Just ask the Marlins as they cry and the Athletics as they laugh.  But is it not way too early to say anything super intelligent in that regard about the Dodgers-Red Sox trade?

Part of that trade is Carl Crawford, who has not played a game this season. A fact which was known would be the case at the time of the trade. Meanwhile, Adrian Gonzalez is under contract through 2018 and Josh Beckett through 2014.

I’ll grant that this will be a bust of a trade if Gonzalez doesn’t rediscover his mojo, if Beckett turns into a tomato can and if Crawford comes back a shell of his former self.  But no matter what Magic Johnson says, this was not solely a “win in 2012” kind of deal. This was a deal for both the short and the long term.

As such, declaring it a bust for the Dodgers and drawing any larger conclusions from it about whether one can buy wins is way premature. And, from a writer for a San Francisco publication, a somewhat curious angle to take at the moment.

  1. Jason @ IIATMS - Sep 25, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    No time to judge the future like the present.

    • j0esixpack - Sep 25, 2012 at 4:17 PM

      From a Red Sox perspective, as much as I want to say “suckers!” for taking the $260 million that would have left the team hamstrung for half a decade, it’s far too early to declare this a bust.

      Gonzo will likely come back to form – his contract is long and expensive but he stands a good chance to live up to it (it’s a stretch, but he may – he’s a good guy to have on a team)

      Beckett? Who knows, but give him a full offseason to get acclimated to LA

      Crawford? Same thing. Give him a full offseason and maybe the change of scenery will do him well.

      Overall the Red Sox admit they made a mistake giving at least some of those guys such huge contracts and the Dodgers let them off the hook.

      I think John Lackey might be the missing cog for the Dodgers – and I’m sure he’s available if they’ll just take on his contract and give up a few prospects! :)

  2. Jason @ IIATMS - Sep 25, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Beckett turns has already turned into a tomato can

    There, fixed.

  3. willclarkgameface - Sep 25, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    This trade can’t be judged until at least next spring. The Dodgers have gone flat since the deal, but its not because of who they gave up or got in return. They just didn’t have the wheels. We knew this in May when their record was deceptively AMAZING. Look at them now – they’re a mediocre team approaching the station at .500.

    No one should really be dancing about this. I’m not convinced that the Giants are all that great either. After their pitching and Buster Posey, who is going to REALLY help them win games when it counts? Marco Scutaro? Okay…he’s been good, but is that the bat we’re looking for to save the Earth? NOPE.

    I do like the fact that all these NL teams and 2 of the teams that probably won’t make the postseason (Angels and Rays) are ALL better than either of the AL Central teams vying for a Central crown. While there is no good system and they are all flawed, it’s a terrible shame that the Angles and Rays, 2 extremely talented (and flawed) teams, will be going home to play golf with Strasburg and the Nationals.

    Competitively, I like the pre-1969 way of doing things. All teams are in the scrum, no divisions, 162 game playoff, best teams to the World Series. Owners that like to hoard gate money (I’m talking to you Pittsburgh and Kansas City) will hate it because you can’t have a team in 8th place that is attractive to ANYONE.

    Whatever. We have what we have. The Dodgers are going home, the Giants will play the Nats and send them home. It will be a Giants – Reds NLCS, Reds taking them down in 6.

    Reds – Orioles World Series.

    Yes, I change my predictions weekly. Deal.

    • bh192012 - Sep 25, 2012 at 7:15 PM

      If it’s a 162 game playoff, why not just throw in a few more interleague games, and award the team with the most wins at the end the champion? Clearly the team with the most wins is the best overall that year. If there is a tie, split it with run differentials. Ohh right, because that would be boring.

  4. illcomm - Sep 25, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    I agree Craig. they have the money to support the payroll. they picked up hanley too. their lineup is pretty sick. it may not be producing at the moment, but aurgulably could be the best 3-4-5 in the game.

  5. temporarilyexiled - Sep 25, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    The best thing about the article is that it’s short. Really, it doesn’t say much of anything. Yet another written result of the desperate need for content, regardless of its quality.

    But the subject itself is quite another story. Looking beyond this year, does all of this recently procured talent gel, or do these guys live up to their not-so-wholesome reputations?

    Because I believe the Giants are now in a good position to be relevant for quite some time, I welcome the yearly challenge from the Dodgers. But if the Dodgers continue to be a stable of selfish players and underachieve once again, I won’t shed any tears.

    I’ve got no allusions of my team still being a small, or even mid-market organization anymore. There’s plenty of money now. But when you become the Yankees or Dodgers, and there’s NO limit to what you’ll spend, I enjoy it that much more when it’s another failed year for either one of them.

  6. randygnyc - Sep 25, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    It’s not unfair to pass judgement on the trade for this season. Sure, things may go differently for the dodgers next year, but the trade was sold to the fans it was made so they could win this year. The fact is that since the trade, the dodgers have not only fallen out of the race, they’ve fallen apart. Its also silly for the defenders of this trade to point to the fact that a major piece, Crawford didn’t play. But he’s going to be a question mark, at best going forward. He’s an aging player who has grossly underperformed when he’s managed to play during the last two years. It’s probably not a good idea to buy into a massive contract with a player who’s so heavily reliant on his legs, as those legs grow old and tired.

    • escapingexile - Sep 25, 2012 at 9:44 AM

      You have to think of Crawford as a shoe in, and that is just for lack of a more appropriate word. Crawford had what was described as a horrible year when healthy last for Boston hitting what, .260 or something? Victorino with that same average was a savior when we got him because that .260 was infinitely better than what we had. Here’s the difference between Vic and Crawford…. Vic is what he is at this point, but if healthy we could get TB era Crawford. Either way, he’ll plug in nicely to our number 2 spot in the order making a 2-6 of Crawford, Kemp, Adrian, Hanley, and Ethier….. Come on, even in New York you’re a little envious of that.
      The idea of this trade was all centered around Adrian. We have been lacking at first base for years and filling that need in free agency wasn’t going to happen with what was available. So what else did we get? I’ve already covered C.C., so that leaves us with Beckett as the last piece of importance. Beckett was done in Boston, he had checked out. Just getting anywhere but there was going to be a boost for him, not to mention pitching at Chavez in the NL West compared to Fenway and the AL East. He will prove to be a good middle of the rotation guy, as he has already done in his time here.
      In conclusion, we gave up a mediocre major league first baseman and some prospects that nobody projects as can’t miss for a franchise anchor of a first baseman, a solid middle of the rotation starter, and a huge wild card that at worst is better than what we had. Who wins in this deal?

    • koufaxmitzvah - Sep 25, 2012 at 9:47 AM

      Obviously, a shot in the arm would have been awesome for 2012, but that was a minor part of the trade compared to getting our 1st baseman. If Adrian Gonzalez fails to produce,in 2013, then it’s valid to call this trade a failure, but until that time, it is short sighted.

      • skids003 - Sep 25, 2012 at 10:33 AM

        I agree koufax, over the course of a full season the Dodger lineup looks pretty awesome. 26 games doesn’t make a season.

      • mazblast - Sep 25, 2012 at 10:55 AM

        Let’s analyze this trade NEXT September. As many others have pointed out, Crawford is the wild card here. If he can be anything like the Crawford of his Tampa Bay days, that’s going to be a heck of a fine outfield in Ethier, Kemp, and Crawford.

        As for the SF Business Times, two observations–One, they’re just rubbing salt in the wound, which is their right; and Two, yeah, that’s the paper I always look to for analysis of major league deals, especially those that don’t involve the Giants.

      • natstowngreg - Sep 25, 2012 at 1:14 PM

        The trade was made, at least in part, to win now. On that level, it has failed.

        But trades are evaluated on multiple levels over a long time. Getting a premiere middle-of-the-order hitter is a plus, and will be for several seasons to come. There is also the message the Dodgers sent to their fans: we’re trying to win. That message has its own positive value to the organization in the long run,

  7. koufaxmitzvah - Sep 25, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Exhibit A as to how San Francisco Giants fans are bred to be lame.

    • temporarilyexiled - Sep 25, 2012 at 10:14 AM

      Right…because we look for all of our sports insight in business publications…

      Actually, we’re bred to dislike lame Dodger fans…

      And you’re exhibit A.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Sep 25, 2012 at 10:56 AM

        My exhibit A of being a Dodgers fan is 5 to 1.

      • clydeserra - Sep 25, 2012 at 3:47 PM

        5-1 being WS wins? Cuz the “Dodgers” and “Giants” both have more. But by that logic shouldn’t we all be Yankees fans?

    • hlang - Sep 25, 2012 at 10:25 AM

      The SF Business Times is not exactly where you go for SF sports news or commentary. It packages business stories with a local angle from the nationwide Business Journal’s daily reservoir, as the Business Times in 30 other cities do in their locales. Here are the stories around this one: Interview with biotech exec, SF Fed exec defends policy, New Nodality CEO, Pandora supports proposed law, new sponsor for 49ers stadium, chef goes digital, Levis pulls brand from Asia, EPA probes Chevron.

      Schulman, Baggerly, Pavlovic, Shea, Kawakami, KNBR, and 95.7FM, who together comprise mainstream media Giants coverage, can be lame enough. A stringer for a national business paper’s ramblings wouldn’t register without Craig’s attention.

      That said, when the Ramirez and Gonzalez trades went down, the race was close and there was collective dread in SF. So if a sigh of relief includes a little short-term schadenfreude, would you be surprised? The Dodgers have the leisure to contemplate 2013’s golden promise. The Giants aren’t thinking about that, or the Dodgers, right now.

      • mazblast - Sep 25, 2012 at 10:56 AM

        Good comment.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Sep 25, 2012 at 11:05 AM

        Not much to disagree with in your post, but I definitely differ with your final summation. There has always seemingly been a lot of joy in watching the Dodgers fail almost more than to see the Giants succeed. I’m sure that’s backlash to the ’70s and ’80s when the Dodgers were far superior to the Giants.

      • temporarilyexiled - Sep 25, 2012 at 11:22 AM

        koufaxmitzvah, give it a rest. Your team sucks this year. Maybe next year will be different. If this was New York, and the Yankees choked this bad after a spending spree, it’d be the ponderous story of forever that we’d be trying to get out from under. Be thankful this’ll soon be a distant memory, and move on. You’re right in that the Giants were really bad in much of the time between 1971 and 1987. That was a long time ago. Look ahead.

      • hlang - Sep 25, 2012 at 12:03 PM

        Of course Giants fans want the Dodgers to fail. “We don’t go, they don’t go” was the chant at the end of 1982, when LA eliminated SF and then SF eliminated LA on a Joe Morgan HR. This is sports rivalry: It is not enough to succeed, the Dodgers must fail. Before my day — before the Wild Card — no problem. Giant success ensured Dodger failure (and, more often, vice versa). Nowadays you have to root for internal decay over there to get the full measure of satisfaction. Don’t want blue slipping in the back door.

        The future will be interesting. Dead money coming off the books in SF, so to some extent it will be Sabean+$ vs. protege Coletti+$$$$$.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Sep 25, 2012 at 3:41 PM

        I’m sorry Exiled, did I upset you? I’m not allowed to comment to a respondent regarding his point to my opening salvo? Give it a rest…. That’s funny.

        Since your reading comprehension sucks, I’ll point out that this article– the one that this blog post is based on– is written by an SF writer, who has jumped the gun on calling the Dodgers trade a losing trade. Everything I have written was based on this original article AND has been used to manipulate the perception of Giants fans as (wait for it now) more concerned with Dodgers fans’ reactions.

        I know. SHOCKING!

        Now you give it a rest.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Sep 25, 2012 at 3:44 PM

        @hlang: That 1982 series was a heart breaker. Wasn’t that when the Beat LA chant was coined? Celtic fans think they started that, but I’m giving it to you Giants fans.

        You know. Cheering on a Dodgers loss…..

        P.S. Nice to see you have a sense of humor and are able to swing back…..

        ^^^^^Note to Temporarily Exiled^^^^^

      • temporarilyexiled - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:54 PM

        koufaxmitzvah, reading comprehension?

        Your first comment was that a throw-away article is how SF fans are bred to be lame.

        Then, when I nailed you for it, the best you could come up with was contrived scoreboard.

        Then you went into your time machine once again, explaining why we’re so bitter with a reference to the terrible Giant teams of the 70s and 80s.

        Now, I’m supposedly upset and bewildered by all of this.

        As usual, you’re projecting.

        It’s about now.

        Your team just spent tons of money for a bad outcome.

        Next year will be…well…next year.

        One of the reasons we’re all captivated by this sport is that we can’t predict what’ll happen.

        The only thing for sure is that Giant and Dodger fans will continue to talk smack.

        But we should probably knock it off…at least for a day…if you get my drift.

    • temporarilyexiled - Sep 25, 2012 at 11:17 AM

      Problem with “scoreboard” is that it’s invariably for whatever time period you choose. Figures lie and liars figure. If you go back to the New York days, it’s 5 to 1 in the other direction. And it’s 2010 versus 1988 if you go that route. Remember, the article is about what’s happening with the Dodgers now and for the near future. As I’ve already said, I expect both teams to be good, and for what’s really a much more bitter rivalry than one between the Yankees and Red Sox – even if it doesn’t get as much play – to be firing on all cylinders. Let the games begin!

  8. Francisco (FC) - Sep 25, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    The AL central is convincing me more and more that while we can keep the divisions we should use a general league wide standing to determine who goes to the playoffs. One of these days, we’re going to have a Seattle Seahawks situation…

  9. Utley's Hair - Sep 25, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Everything around here is judged from the first whiff of anything happening, from trades to FA signings to nonmoves to rules changes.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 25, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      +1 for speaking truth

  10. townballblog - Sep 25, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    I agree, it’s way. To early to call this a bust. However, it’s hard to deny that so far it’s:

    Red Sox 1 – Dodgers 0

    • temporarilyexiled - Sep 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM


      Red Sox -1
      Dodgers -1
      Marlins -1

      At least Mattingly is okay.

      I’m waiting for the Valentine/Guillen trade.

      • townballblog - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:49 PM

        Haha! If that happens the National Guard would be outside Fenway everyday.

  11. thereisaparty - Sep 25, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Are you going to ignore the massive contracts the Dodgers absorbed (and the Red Sox removed from their books)? The Dodgers owe Crawford $102.5mm over the next 5 years and $31.5mm to Beckett over the next two years. What are the odds that Gonzo, Beckett, and Crawford provide any additional value?

    Missing out on the 2012 playoffs makes this deal look worse than it did on day 1

  12. natstowngreg - Sep 25, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Craig, at the end, you question why someone would rush to judgement. But you answered your own question at the very beginning. It’s about Giants fans sticking it to Dodgers fans. It’s called a rivalry. Nothing more complicated than that.

  13. sisqsage - Sep 25, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Why would anyone care what this rag has to say about anything…especially a sports deal?

    But what has been missed in the Dodgers deal and two other fairly large ones (Han Ram and League also) is they traded good prospects for players (Beckett, Han Ram and Crawford) who have injury-questionable dedication-inconsistent play issues, and taking on a ton of debt in the process. Sounds like a move the federal government would make.

    You can make the argument that Gonzo, Beckett and Ramirez haven’t realy moved the needle in L.A.’s favor because a lot of the time they just don’t care enough.

    The Sox are still jumping for joy that they don’t have to keep overpaying for those guys.

  14. hokiegajanisgod - Sep 25, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Even if Gonzalez, Beckett, and Punto played like the second coming of Garvey, Sutton, and Cey….even if Carl Crawford becomes the 21st century version of Reggie Smith, the Red Sox are hands down winners in this trade.

    Ben Cherington = GM of the century!

    Ned Colletti = unemployment li…wait…the Dodgers gave him a contract extension???? Hahahahahahahaha!!!!

  15. shadymduk - Sep 25, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    I think the funniest part isn’t taking a business rag seriously on sports comment, it’s a sports blog that loves to rush to swift judgements questioning someone else for doing the same.

    Here’s to a great rivallry between the Giants and the Dodgers for the next few years.

    • hlang - Sep 26, 2012 at 1:47 AM

      That’s an excellent point. Craig in particular, as much as I love his work, has an acute case of premature pundititis.

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