The Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox pulled off a blockbuster trade Saturday—a nine-player deal with Boston dumping over a quarter of a billion dollars in salary, but L-A vastly improving. The Red Sox sent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, outfielder Carl Crawford, pitcher Josh Beckett, and reserve infielder Nick Punto to the Dodgers in exchange for first baseman James Loney, minor leaguers Allen Webster and Ivan DeJesus Jr., and two players to be named later, reported to be top prospects Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands. I imagine the phone call between Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti and Red Sox GM Ben Cherington going something like this...
Cherington (hearing the phone ring and recognizing the number): “Hey Ned.”
Colletti: “Wassup, Ben? How's it hangin'?”
Cherington: “Not too good. You know we are 15 games behind the Yankees and everyone seems to hate our manager. I suppose you are interested in Beckett?”
Colletti: “Yeah maybe, but I was wondering if you were willing to part with Gonzalez?”
Cherington: “Adrian? He's the cornerstone of our franchise! He also six more years remaining on his contract."
Colletti: “Yeah, that's not a problem. My bosses gave me some money to work with. Besides, isn't he the one trying to get (Bobby) Valentine fired?”
Cherington: “Where'd you hear that?”
Colletti: “Rumors. Anyway, are you willing to part with A-Gon?”
Cherington: “I dunno, that's a pretty big deal. You'd have to take Beckett, too."
Cherington: “Really? Um. I mean. Great! (gets out his calculator and adds 127 and 31.5) Well, who do WE get?”
Colletti: “I have a bunch of minor leaguers for you to choose from, but you'd also have to take James Loney.”
Cherington: “Loney? That guy sucks! He's only hit four homers this year, and he's a first baseman. In his first full season in 2007, he hit 15 homers, and that's his career high! What are you still doing with him anyway? He's awful. I ought to hang up on you right now!”
Colletti: “Wait! He's a free agent at the end of the year. You wouldn't have to re-sign him.”
Cherington: “I dunno. I really don't think so, Ned. We've still got a few days until the August 31 deadline. Maybe give me a call in a week.”
Colletti: “Aw, c'mon Ben. How about if I take Carl Crawford off your hands, too?”
Cherington: “Dude, are you feeling okay? Crawford's hurt. He's having Tommy John surgery. He won't be available until next year!”
Colletti: “That's not a problem.”
Cherington: (mutes the phone for a second). Oh my God, I think I've got a live one here. (Unmutes the phone). “And you're going to pay his entire salary?”
Colletti: “Yeah. Well, maybe you can kick in a couple mil.”
Cherington (adds 102.5 to the 158.5 showing on his calculator. Mutes the phone and screams with joy when he sees the number 261. Unmutes the phone.): “Yeah I think maybe we could kick in a couple mil. Anything else?”
Colletti: “Well, Jerry Hairston Junior went down. He was our super sub. How about Punto?”
Cherington: You want Punto, too? You don't want David Ortiz?”
Colletti (laughing): “We don't use the DH, Ben.”
Cherington: “Yeah I know, just trying. So you want Punto? (adds another 1.5 on his calculator).”
Cherington: “We're really going to do this? Don't you have to get approval or something?”
Colletti: “Nah, I'm good. I can spend whatever I want.”
Cherington: “Wow, kind of different from the old days, huh? I was just Theo Epstein's assistant then, but remember the Manny trade? Okay. So just to be sure I have this right, Ned, you get Gonzalez, Beckett, Crawford, and Punto, and we wipe out your farm system.”
Colletti: “I wish you wouldn't put it that way, Ben, but yes. And you have to pay for dinner at the next owners meeting.”
Colletti: “And three rounds of golf the next time we meet in interleague play.”
Cherington: “Okay okay.”
Colletti: “Done. Nice doing business with you.”
Cherington: “You too (hangs up. Looks at the 262.5 on his calculator and screams).” I just dumped 262½ million dollars! I just solved all our problems! I'm going to be Executive of the Year for sure (runs down the hall and high-fives everybody)!
Colletti: I just acquired four needed players! I just solved all our problems! I'm going to be Executive of the Year for sure (runs down the hall and high-fives everybody)!
They say a good deal is one that works well for both teams.
Trade bits: In the 30-minute pregame show before Saturday's game, Fox Sports Prime Ticket pregame hosts Patrick O' Neal, Steve Lyons, and Kenny Lofton never took 30 seconds to mention the corresponding roster moves that had to be made to make room for the newcomers. It wasn't until the fifth inning that Vin Scully mentioned that Chad Billingsley was placed on the Disabled List, and infielder Alex Castellanos was sent back to the minors.
Follow the money: O' Neal doesn't seem to be the best pre/post game host in the world, and also he should know who he is ultimately working for. O' Neal referred to Dodgers CEO Mark Walter as Mark Walters. You'd think with all of that money, O'Neal should learn that name and get it right. His interview Sunday with Vin Scully makes up for the gaffe, though. Scully announced he will be back next season, and O' Neal even practically got Scully to commit to going to New York next year. The draft schedule has the Dodgers facing the Yankees in interleague play.
Sundays off: It almost never happens in baseball that a team doesn't have to play on Sunday, but this year, it has happened to the Oakland A's twice. Their series at Tampa Bay last week was Thursday through Saturday because of a pre-Republican Convention gala at the Tropicana Dome on Sunday. In the original schedule, the A's Opening Weekend series was supposed to be a Thursday through Sunday four-game set against Seattle, but the Thursday and Sunday games were moved so the A's could open the season against the Mariners in Japan.