The nine-player blockbuster between the Red Sox and Dodgers is complete

123 Comments

UPDATE: The trade has been announced. The Red Sox have traded Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and cash considerations to the Dodgers for James Loney, Allen Webster, Ivan De Jesus, Jr. and two players to be named later.

Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands are reportedly the players to be named and will join the Red Sox organization following the season. The Red Sox must wait to acquire De La Rosa and Sands because they didn’t clear waivers this month.

1:32 p.m.: OK, it’s done. For real this time. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that the deal is official while Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com hears that Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto are already on a plane to Los Angeles. No word on if fried chicken is on the in-flight menu.

11:59 a.m.: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the trade will get done, but that the two sides are waiting for Carl Crawford’s consent paperwork to go through. He has already waived his no-trade clause verbally, so it’s just a formality at this point.

Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston, who has been all over this trade, hears that an an official announcement is expected at some point this afternoon.

10:00 a.m.: So much for that. According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the mega-deal is not yet official and reports of it being complete are premature. Still sounds like it will get done, but we might have to wait a little while longer.

9:32 a.m. ET: According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, the nine-player blockbuster trade between the Red Sox and Dodgers is complete. Dan Roche of WBZ is also reporting that the trade is done. Let’s go over the particulars.

The Red Sox are sending first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, right-hander Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford and infielder Nick Punto to the Dodgers for first baseman James Loney and four minor leaguers. Those prospects are expected to consist of right-handers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, first baseman/outfielder Jerry Sands and infielder Ivan De Jesus, Jr., though one or more of them could be announced as players to be named later and be sent to Boston after the season. Crawford and Beckett both waived their no-trade clauses in order for the deal to go through.

The Red Sox will get an incredible amount of financial flexibility as a result of the deal, as Silverman reports that the club will cover just $12 million of the roughly $271.5 million left on the contracts of Gonzalez, Beckett, Crawford and Punto. Those payments will begin next year.

This deal will be viewed as a salary dump in many circles and considering the unprecedented amount of money involved, that’s certainly understandable, but Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington comes out looking pretty good after getting De La Rosa and Webster back in the deal. Each team is essentially getting what they want here, as the Red Sox want to press the reset button and the new Dodgers ownership wants to send the message that they are in it to win it. The deal improves the Dodgers’ chances of making a run in the postseason this year, but it might not look so hot a couple of years from now. Dodgers fans are surely hoping the new ownership has enough money set aside to keep Clayton Kershaw around for the long haul.

Joe Morgan is asking Hall of Fame voters to keep PED users out

Getty Images
12 Comments

Hall of Famer Joe Morgan has never equivocated on his belief that users of performance enhancing drugs should not be allowed into the Hall of Fame. Whenever he has been interviewed on the subject he has been steadfast in his stance that PED users are not worthy of induction.

This week he has taken a further step: he has sent a letter to all of the Hall of Fame voters, asking them to keep PED users out.

In his letter — the entirety of which you can read over at Joe Posnanski’s blog — Morgan says “if steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.” By “we,” he’s clearly referring to Hall of Fame members. While he does not name any player he would like to see voters keep out, he spends a lot of time talking about how PEDs are bad for baseball, PED users cheated the game and how he and many other Hall of Famers do not want to see them elected. He invokes “youngsters” and refers to the Hall of Fame as “special” and speaks to the “sanctity” of election. It’s the moral argument against PED use we’ve been hearing for a goof 15 years or so.

It’s also hopelessly naive and comes far too late in the game to be a useful plea.

As we’ve noted many, many times, there are already PED users in the Hall of Fame. Amphetamine users to be sure, but even if you want to give them a pass, there are steroid and/or HGH users too. In case you forgot about that, allow me to remind you about the time Hall of Fame voter Thomas Boswell appeared in Ken Burns’ “Baseball” documentary update “The Tenth Inning” and explicitly said that he personally witnessed a current Hall of Famer drink a PED-laden shake:

“There was another player now in the Hall of Fame who literally stood with me and mixed something and I said “What’s that?” and he said “it’s a Jose Canseco milkshake”. And that year that Hall of Famer hit more home runs than ever hit any other year. So it wasn’t just Canseco, and so one of the reasons that I thought that it was an important subject was that it was spreading. It was already spreading by 1988.”

Boswell tends to keep pretty silent about that come Hall of Fame voting time in December, but he has never backed off the claim either.

Less reliable, but still never refuted, were the stories of Patty Blyleven, former wife of Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven, who said that she knows of a Hall of Famer who took PEDs as well, and who continues to nonetheless publicly rail against PED use. There are likewise other Hall of Famers of whom baseball writers are strongly convinced — or know for a fact — took PEDs but about whom they’ve never reported because no one would go on the record about it or corroborate it in a way that satisfies prevailing journalistic standards. Go ask a BBWAA member about why it took Jeff Bagwell so long to get into the Hall of Fame. Or simply go back and read what they said about him a few years ago.

Going beyond those cases are the cases of a host of players — players who have been on the ballot for years —  about which we’ll never, ever know. Do we know for sure that any of the guys currently on the ballot who played before drug testing never took PEDs? Of course not. In light of that all Morgan can ask is for voters to keep players of an entire era out. Which is a completely unreasonable and unfair request.

In the absence of guidance from the Hall of Fame or Major League Baseball, BBWAA voters were somewhat inconsistent with alleged PED users for a time, but they’re beginning to coalesce around a set of rough standards:

  • If you tested positive for PEDs or were disciplined for PEDs after the testing program was fully online like Manny Ramirez and Rafael Palmeiro did, you’re not getting in. Figure Alex Rodriguez will fall in this group one day too;
  • If you were strongly and convincingly associated with PEDs in the pre-testing era like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the road you have to go down is going to be pretty bumpy, but you may, possibly, get in one day if you were an overwhelmingly great player;
  • If you were seen as one-dimensional like Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa and either admitted to PED use or were suspected of it, welp, sorry. We’ll leave why Sosa is suspected of it to another post.

All of this is will likely change slightly over time. Bonds and Clemens have recently gotten over the 50% voting threshold and could gain some steam with the voters. Alex Rodriguez was good enough and his post-career image rehabilitation has been such that he may get more support than most post-testing PED guys one day. Maybe McGwire and Sosa will get new looks down the road by some iteration of the Veteran’s Committee. After that, there aren’t a lot of guys who are seriously in the Hall of Fame discussion with credible PED claims against them.

Which is to say that history is sorting itself out, for better or for worse. Sorting itself out in a way that renders Morgan’s views on the matter — whether you consider them well-founded or otherwise — too little, too late and, given what we know and do not know about PED users, rather useless.