Salary Dump? Not So Fast.. Red Sox & Dodgers Make History

Just when it seemed like the 2012 dust had settled and most teams were what they are, the Boston Red Sox and L.A. Dodgers pulled off a transaction that will be talked about for years. A trade for any single one of the players (well, except for Punto) would have made headlines just due to name value. And that’s exactly the point, the players being moved from the Red Sox haven’t shown that their name value pays quite what their checkbook does.

Even though his final numbers were terrific in 2011, it has been a full seasons worth of sample size for average production for Adrian Gonzalez. Carl Crawford‘s first year in Boston was a nightmare, and then he got hurt. Josh Beckett was in the middle of regression before he even inked his extension, but the Red Sox gave him the money anyhow. A collection of bad luck and bad decision making was shown. When you get both of those in the equation, you find yourself in the position they are in, dumping their payroll to start over. One thing is for sure – this was the best possible move for a team that looked like it was out of options. Ben Cherington better be throwing a party right now because if I were his personal friend, I’d let the bar tender know that Ben’s got the tab tonight.

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 13:  Dustin Pedroia #15...

Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife

$200MM in savings that can be invested in a new direction by a GM who has shown that he doesn’t need to, or feel compelled to overspend to acquire players. There have been only small moves made thus far, but they’re likely a sign into the philosophy that will make that $200MM go much farther than his predecessor in Theo Epstein. To call this move a salary dump is an insult to Cherington, because it’s much much more than that. There was some serious talent and depth added by Boston here. All the players they receive are cost certain and still have plenty of projection left. The best part of all this? Even if the players acquired all fail miserably, it will still be viewed as a good move by a team who looked like they were in check-mate.

One thing is for certain – Ben Cherington and the Boston Red Sox front office will have the spotlight on them this offseason. This short of a timespan doesn’t really allow you to make any firm judgements on players, so a lot of guesswork will be involved when they look to plug holes and spend some of this newfound money. There will be immense pressure on the Red Sox because all eyes will be looking at them and questioning/analyzing their “return” for this salary dump. Fair or not, that’s what it will be.

Oh yeah, and those Dodgers guys got pretty good too. That will be a fun team to watch!

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  1. Peter

    August 25, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I would also hope that this historic, blockbuster trade would allow them to retain Ellsbury as well as improve the pitching rotation with the addition of any of the following free agents available at the end of the season: Jake Peavy, Brandon McCarthy, Shaun Marcum, Edwin Jackson or Zack Greinke (although, not all of these are good fits in Boston).

    There is also a hole at 1B & now one in a corner OF position going forward. They might be able to fine one of those holes in free agency with either Hamilton or Napoli.

  2. Bill King

    September 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    @Peter: Although they now have more flexibility, I do not believe they will follow their previous path and spend it immediately. Ben Cherrington is of a different mold than Theo was. I think you’ll see the money being spent on position players, and less huge contracts on pitching.

    I can see them going after a Peavy because he will command less years and dollars, but also think the White Sox will try to retain him at the end of the year since their farm is so darn thin.

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