Carl Crawford Adrian Gonzalez

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

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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.

Russell Martin is not a fan of the automatic intentional walk

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Russell Martin #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after being struck out in the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game two of the American League Championship Series at Progressive Field on October 15, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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On Tuesday, it was announced that Major League Baseball instituted a new rule allowing for a dugout signal in order to issue an intentional walk rather than having the pitcher throw four pitches wide of the strike zone. It’s commissioner Rob Manfred’s attempt to help improve the game’s pace of play.

As Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin is certainly not a fan of the change.

My thing is, if they really want to speed up the game, then when a guy hits a home run, to speed up the game should a guy, just like in softball, when he hits it, should he just walk to the dugout? It’d be quicker. I’m just wondering, at what point do we just keep the game, the game? Or, how about this calculation: take all the intentional walks that were made in the last couple years and calculate – or maybe just ask to see if they have that information, to see if they really did their homework. Is it really that important to speed up the game (with this rule)? Because how many games did we play last year where we didn’t have one intentional walk? That’s something I’d like to know.

Martin also expressed concern that eliminating the four-pitch intentional walk will hurt teams’ ability to buy time for their relievers to warm up.

It’s called getting your bullpen ready so the guy doesn’t blow out his arm on the mound. Speed up the game, speed up the game.’ How about we just give guys – the human being – time to warm up on the mound after maybe something’s happened in the game? I’m not a manager, but I’m just trying to put myself in the position of a manager. OK, we’re up by one run or two runs and our bullpen’s been taxed and we’re trying to save their arms, and then the other team walks, ball gets away, guy gets to second base. When the coach visits the mound to talk to his player, it’s not like the player necessarily needs somebody to talk to him.

It’s because the guy (in the bullpen) needs time to warm up, man. It’s the same thing when you throw over to first base, like, eight times in a row. It’s not like we’re trying to keep the guy close. The guy maybe has two stolen bases in 18 years. It’s because the guy needs time to warm up. At what point does that become a problem with guys warming up in the bullpen? Sometimes it’s just strategy to give guys a little bit of time to warm up.

The Jays’ backstop then said he’d prefer if Manfred were honest about the intent behind this rule change and others which have been proposed. Martin said, “Save it. I’m tired of hearing that same lame excuse all the time. Just be honest. If they’re honest about it, we’ll get over it. But don’t hide behind the fans.”

We should be hearing from a handful of players about the new intentional walk rule in the coming days. I can’t imagine the rule is very popular among the players.

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.