Adrian Gonzalez

Breaking down the Red Sox-Dodgers megadeal

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If FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi is correct, the Red Sox and Dodgers have agreed to the following nine-player deal:

To L.A.: Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto
To Boston: Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Jerry Sands, Ivan De Jesus, James Loney

It’s not official yet, as the Red Sox still need Crawford and Beckett to waive their trade protection. However, here the breakdown of the deal:

Going to the Dodgers:

Adrian Gonzalez (1B, age 30): Of the three huge pieces getting sent the Dodgers’ way, Gonzalez is the one most teams would probably view as being worth his contract. He’s currently in the first year of his monster extension, so he’s due $127 million in the six years from 2013-18. While Gonzalez had a disappointing first half of 2012, he’s hit .338/.378/.593 with nine homers and 41 RBI in 37 games since the All-Star break.  He also hit .338 last year in his first season with Boston. Needless to say, he’d be a huge upgrade over James Loney at first base in Los Angeles. He’d likely supplant Andre Ethier in the cleanup spot behind Matt Kemp.

Carl Crawford (LF, age 31): Crawford is out for the season after Tommy John surgery, so he won’t make any sort of immediate impact in Los Angeles. Still, he should be ready next year, and he played pretty well while healthy this year, hitting .282/.306/.479 with three homers in 117 at-bats. That was a big step forward from a tremendously disappointing first year in Boston. Crawford may yet have a couple of All-Star appearances going forward, but the Red Sox could essentially start over by shedding his contract. He’ll make $102.5 million from 2013-17. With Shane Victorino likely to leave in free agency, the Dodgers would use Crawford in left field next year.

Josh Beckett (SP, age 32): Beckett has turned into public enemy No. 1 in Boston of late, with the results to match; he’s 5-11 with a 5.23 ERA in 21 starts this season. Beckett, though, was one of the AL’s best pitchers just one year ago, finishing 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA in 30 starts in 2011. His velocity is down, so he’s not necessarily going to rebound completely in the National League. Still, he’d be a better bet than Aaron Harang or Joe Blanton in a postseason rotation. Beckett is owed $31.5 million for 2013-14. The Dodgers would have him replace Joe Blanton in the rotation.

Nick Punto (INF, age 34): Foolishly given a two-year, $3 million contract last winter, Punto has found himself made obsolete in Boston by Pedro Ciriaco’s emergence. In Los Angeles, he’d join Luis Cruz and Juan Uribe in the mix at third base. Punto is hitting just .200/.301/.272 in 125 at-bats this season, but he is a plus defender at third and he hit .278/.388/.421 for the Cardinals last year.

Going to the Red Sox:

Rubby De La Rosa (SP, age 23): De La Rosa blossomed into a top prospect in 2011, jumping from Double-A to the majors and going 4-5 with a 3.71 ERA and a 60/31 K/BB ratio in 60 2/3 innings for the Dodgers. Unfortunately, he needed Tommy John surgery last August. He just returned this week, as the Dodgers activated him from the disabled list following a successful rehab stint. The Dodgers then sent him back down to the minors today, but that was a move to facilitate the trade; De La Rosa didn’t clear waivers, so he can only be included in the deal as a “player to be named” and he has to be in the minors to make that happen. Therefore, he won’t officially become Boston property until the season ends.

A short right-hander (5’11”) with a big mid-90s fastball and a quality changeup, De La Rosa has drawn some comparisons to Pedro Martinez. That’s overselling it, but he has No. 2 or 3 starter potential, and he should make an impact next year.

Allen Webster (SP, age 22): Webster, a right-hander with a very good sinker and a plus changeup, was the prospect the Cubs wanted from the Dodgers for Ryan Dempster. He’s gone 6-8 with a 3.55 ERA and a 117/57 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings for Double-A Chattanooga this season. Most impressive is that he’s allowed just one homer all year. He and fellow righty Zach Lee were prospects 1 and 1a in the Dodger farm system. Most prefer Lee, but I like Webster a bit better.

Jerry Sands (1B/OF, age 24): It seemed obvious that Sands should be in the deal, given that he plays the positions that will be occupied by Gonzalez and Crawford in Los Angeles. His stock is down since he’s hit a modest .244/.325/.376 with 60 strikeouts in 221 major league at-bats to date. He also lacks defensive value. Still, as a right-handed doubles hitter, he could work out nicely in Fenway. He’ll get a long look over the rest of the year to determine whether he fits into the plans for 2013. I’m skeptical that he’s a long-term regular, but it can’t be ruled out.

Ivan De Jesus (INF, age 25): De Jesus is essentially a junior Nick Punto. It’s doubtful that he’ll hit enough to be of use as a regular, but he’s a fine infielder with a history of pretty good OBPs in the minors. Oddly, his walk rate is well down in Triple-A this year, as he’s hit .295/.333/.415 with a 53/14 K/BB ratio in 224 at-bats for Albuquerque. Last year, he came in at .310/.389/.432 with the same club.

James Loney (1B, age 28): The Dodgers certainly have no further use for Loney after making the deal, and they probably forced the Red Sox to take him on for salary purposes. The Red Sox almost surely will let him leave as a free agent this winter if they don’t simply release him before then, so there’s no 2013 commitment here. Loney has hit .254/.403/.344 in 334 at-bats this season, leaving him with a .284/.341/.423 career line. Maybe the Red Sox will give him a shot, but it’d make more sense to play Sands, Mauro Gomez and maybe Ryan Lavarnway at first base.

In making the trade, the Red Sox would shed $58.25 million in 2013 salaries, without taking on anyone making more than the minimum. They’re left with just $42.375 million in obligations for 2013 (John Lackey, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz), plus about $32.5 million for 10 arbitration-eligible players. That should make them big players in free agency, and it also gives them plenty of flexibility to make Jacoby Ellsbury a big offer this winter before he hits free agency after 2013.

Two elite Cuban players defect

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Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com just reported that Yulieski Gurriel & Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who are brothers, reportedly defected and will be seeking MLB deals. There aren’t any details yet, but Sanchez will be updating with a full story that we’ll link here when he has it.

Yulieski is a 31-year old third baseman and, according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler he was the No. 1 player remaining in Cuba. He was one of the Cuban players who was permitted to play in Japan recently, and he just put up a .305/.349/.536 season with 11 homers in 62 games for the Yokohama Bay Stars and has continued to rake in Cuba. He is likely major league ready right this instant. He’d be an unrestricted free agent given his age and team’s signing him would not be subject to international bonus pool limits.

Lourdes is only 22 years old. He’s hit .269/.355/.414 in 1036 Serie Nacional plate appearances and Badler thinks he has 20-homer potential in the majors one day. He’s currently a shortstop, but is probably destined for a corner. He is young enough to where he would be subject to bonus pool limits. Several teams have already exceeded those limits for the current signing period, limiting the number of teams who could sign him. If, however, it takes MLB a long time to clear him as a free agent — and with immigration issues and the like, that’s very possible — he may not be eligible to be signed until next year, which could bring some other teams into the fold.

 

Indians close to signing ex-Nationals reliever Craig Stammen

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Right-hander Craig Stammen, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Nationals, is expected to sign with the Indians.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Indians “hope to finalize a deal” with Stammen today, adding veteran depth to the bullpen. It’ll likely be a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Stammen missed nearly all of last season following elbow surgery and the Nationals non-tendered him, but he’s scheduled to be ready for spring training. After struggling as a starter early in his career he’s posted a 3.02 ERA in 280 innings out of the bullpen, so if healthy it’d be a nice addition for Cleveland.

A Mexican team wins the Caribbean Series for the third time in four years

Mexican players celebrate their victory in the Caribbean Series baseball final against Aragua Tigres of Venezuela, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. Designated hitter Jorge Vazquez hit a game-winning home run leading off the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday, lifting Mexico's Venados de Mazatlan to a 5-4 come-from-behind victory and the championship of the Caribbean Series. (AP Photo/Roberto Guzman)
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For those who aren’t familiar, Serie del Caribe, or the Caribbean Series, is the highest club level baseball tournament in Latin America, pitting the champions of the winter leagues in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela against one another in a bacchanalia of baseball that, if there was justice in the world, we’d all be watching instead of football.

This year’s installment ended last night with Mexico’s Mazatlan Venados beating Venezuela’s Aragua Tigres 5-4 in the final game at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Jorge Vazquez — who Yankees fans may remember from a few years back — provided the winning margin when he hit a home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning.

This is the third Serie del Caribe title for a Mexican club in the past four years, with Naranjeros de Hermosillo winning in 2014 and Yaquis de Obregón winning in 2013. Pinar del Río from Cuba won it last winter. This is the first time the Venados have won it.

As we noted yesterday, this was longtime MLB starter Freddy Garcia‘s last game. He gave up four hits and allowed two earned runs over five and a third innings for the Tigres, getting a no-decision.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.