According to multiple reports, the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers are involved in talks that would send Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers for prospects and salary relief. Below is a chronology of how the events have unfolded so far:
UPDATE 8:09: Deal should go through "as long as no-trade clauses and medical info check out," tweets Jon Morosi. Most observers don't expect a trade to be announced tonight if it indeed goes through.
UPDATE 7:24: The Dodgers and Red Sox are reviewing medicals, tweets Alex Speier.
UPDATE 7:21: Gordon Edes, who first reported the possible deal, tweets that the Red Sox would get Rubby De La Rosa, James Loney, Jerry Sands, Ivan DeJesus and a top prospect in the trade. In a previous tweet he mentioned that the trade was not yet completed despite players being scratched, speculating that the teams were reviewing medicals.
UPDATE 7:11: James Loney was scratched from the Dodgers lineup.
UPDATE 7:06: Gonzalez has been scratched from the Red Sox lineup Friday night and Gonzalez and Punto have been summoned from the dugout into the clubhouse, tweets Alex Speier.
UPDATE 6:48: There's been a lot of people on the web questioning why either side would do this deal. Let's try to break it down:
Why it's good for the Dodgers: The Dodgers are only three games out in the NL West and are bent on making the playoffs in their first year under new ownership. Adrian Gonzalez represents a huge upgrade over James Loney, who's hitting just .254 with four home runs. Beckett gives the Dodgers another playoff-tested starter, something they've been seeking all season, as the Cliff Lee claim shows. Punto is a good backup middle infielder on a championship-calibre team. Carl Crawford, who just had Tommy John surgery, could be an expensive pinch-runner this year. He would then take over in the outfield for Shane Victorino next season. Victorino is eligible for free agency after the 2012 season.
Why it's good for the Red Sox: The Sox haven't won a playoff game since 2008, are coming off a disastrous Sept. 2011 and a dissapointing 2012. The three key players in this deal were brought in under a different, since-departed, regime and Ben Cherington could use the enormous cost savings the trade would bring to invest in multiple players of his and Bobby Valentine's liking.
UPDATE 6:18: Dodgers prospects discussed (not neccesarily included) in a potential trade: Allen Webster, Zach Lee, Rubby De La Rosa, Jerry Sands, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
UPDATE 6:05: Now Jon Morosi is getting in on the fun, reporting that a blockbuster deal is "close" between the clubs. He adds that Boston would send cash to LA in the potential deal and backs up the players involved: Beckett, Gonzalez, Crawford and Punto. Another tweet notes that Boston would "receive prospects, not just salary relief."
UPDATE 5:40: Gorden Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports of a potential blockbuster that would send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Dodgers. Edes tweets that "Hurdles remain, but closing in." No other outlets have reported Crawford or Punto as being involved in any potential trades yet.
ORIGINAL POST: The Dodgers are sending a very clear message: We want to win. Now.
The Red Sox now have three options: (1) allow either of the two highly paid players to simply go to Los Angeles, shedding their salaries in the process, (2) work out a trade with the Dodgers or (3) pull them back from waivers and keep both players. Beckett, as a player with 10 years in the majors and five years with his current team, has the ability to block any trade.
The move is part of an aggressive summer for Los Angeles, which was awarded the claim on Phillies ace Cliff Lee, though a deal never came to fruition. The Dodgers traded for shortstop Hanley Ramirez, outfielder Shane Victorino, starter Joe Blanton and relievers Brandon League and Randy Choate in July.
Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports that there is indeed a possibility the Red Sox trade Gonzalez, a move that would have been unthinkable just a few months ago. After acquiring Gonzalez from the San Diego Padres before the 2011 season by parting with several top prospects, they signed the slugging infielder to a mega-deal. He earns $21 million each season from 2012-2016 and $21.5 million per year from 2017-2018.
Gonzalez is hitting .300 with 15 home runs heading into Friday night, but his contract could be seen as prohibitive as the Red Sox attempt to retool an under-performing roster.
Beckett earns $15.75 million per season through 2014, but has underperformed in 2012. Expected to be a cornerstone of the Red Sox rotation, he's just 5-11 with a 5.23 ERA and was one of the poster boys for Boston's dramatic 2011 collapse.
Both Beckett and Gonzalez's deals were done under the Theo Epstein regime. But Epstein has since become GM of the Chicago Cubs, and current GM Ben Cherington has presided over a team that starts Friday seven games under .500 and 13.5 games back in the AL East.