Going, Going, A-Gon: Dodgers Swinging Blockbuster to Land BoSox Slugger


Hanley Ramirez, Brandon League, Shane Victorino. Now Adrian Gonzalez. Not bad for Guggenheim’s first few months of ownership, eh?

MLB Trade Rumors explains that the Dodgers are prepared to land the four-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove first baseman from Boston, along with outfielder Carl Crawford, pitcher Josh Beckett and infielder Nick Punto, in exchange for James Loney, Jerry Sands, Ivan De Jesus Jr., Rubby De La Rosa and prospect Allen Webster. The Dodgers won their claims on Gonzalez and Beckett after Boston placed both on waivers.

The possible trade would give LA a tremendous upgrade in the lineup. Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez would be joined by Gonzalez and his career .880 OPS. A-Gon is in the midst of a down year, sporting a slash line of .300/.343/.469 (an .812 OPS in case you don’t feel like doing math), but his five years with San Diego give him intimate knowledge of the NL West. He is under contract through 2018.

Crawford would not be a contributor to the 2012 cause; he ended his season when he underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his left throwing elbow. He failed to replicate his 2010 Tampa Bay success in Boston, posting a .711 OPS in his two seasons with the Red Sox. He has tremendous speed, leading the league in swipes for four different seasons, and a Gold Glove to his name. Crawford is under contract through 2017.

Josh Beckett was a World Series hero with Boston in 2007. He posted a 3.27 ERA and collected 20 wins during the regular season that year, and he was even better in October, winning all four of his starts in the postseason. He won the 2007 ALCS MVP award, adding that trophy to his 2003 World Series MVP with the Marlins. However, he became persona non grata after news leaked last season of Boston’s fried chicken and beer habit, and his personality appeared to clash with new manager Bobby Valentine. Beckett is under contract through 2014.

Nick Punto is a career backup infielder, having passed 500 plate appearances only twice. He has a .324 OPB in his 12 big league years, but he brings a stellar glove, with Baseball Reference rating him 10.1 defensive wins above replacement (dWAR) during his career.

Among the Dodgers’ losses, the hardest to swallow are De La Rosa and Webster. De La Rosa recently returned from Tommy John surgery and had a 2.74 ERA in the minors. Webster was one of LA’s top farmhands, and the team prized him so much that they refused to part with him in any July non-waiver trade with the Cubs for Ryan Dempster.

The other parting Dodgers don’t generate such disappointment though. Loney will be a free agent at season’s end, and with a .646 OPS, the lineup will hardly miss his presence. Sands looked awful in Spring Training, costing him a chance to make the Opening Day roster, and the poor performance carried over into the beginning of the minor league season. Sands had two brief stints with the Dodgers during the regular season, getting just four hits and one walk in 24 PA. He was also likely squeezed out of the team’s future when Yasiel Puig signed a seven-year deal in June. De Jesus was one of the Dodgers’ top prospects once upon a time, but a broken leg suffered in a 2008 Spring Training game derailed his career.

The possible deal has yet to be completed, and Crawford and Beckett both have the power to block any trade. But it’s becoming clearer and clearer that the Dodgers are willing to make any sacrifice to improve the team for the present and the future.