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.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday’s action

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 16: Starting pitcher J.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 16, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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Did you know J.A. Happ is in the thick of the American League Cy Young Award race? Of all the contenders, he may be the biggest surprise, even ahead of Drew Pomeranz. Happ leads the league with 17 wins and only has three losses to go with it. He’s holding a 3.05 ERA and a 133/44 K/BB ratio in 150 1/3 innings.

It wasn’t all that long ago that Happ was struggling to stay in a starting rotation. In 2011, his first full season with the Astros, he finished with a 5.35 ERA. In 2012, he put up a 4.79 ERA with the ‘stros and Blue Jays. The next year? 4.56 followed by 4.22, both with the Jays. Then, with the Mariners, he continued the mediocrity with a 4.64 ERA before he was traded to the Pirates.

Under the tutelage of Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage, Happ turned his career around. In 11 starts in Pittsburgh, the lefty had a microscopic 1.85 ERA. That came with significant improvements in his strikeout and walk rates. Even the ERA retrodictors like FIP and xFIP, which had so often agreed with his uninspiring ERA’s, agreed that he had thrown like an elite hurler. So that’s how we arrived at J.A. Happ, Cy Young Award contender.

Among AL starters, Happ is fifth-best in ERA behind Cole Hamels, Jose Quintana, Aaron Sanchez, and Steven Wright. However, his 17-3 record is equaled only by Rick Porcello. As there are still a significant number of voters in the Baseball Writers Association of America who consider won-lost record, Happ is sitting in a good position and will be even better if he can cross the coveted 20-win threshold. He’ll get a bit of a boost as well if he can help the Jays return to the postseason for a second consecutive season.

Happ’s Jays will host the hapless — and Happ-less — Angels on Thursday evening. He’ll take on veteran Jered Weaver in a 7:07 PM EDT start.

The rest of Thursday’s action…

Baltimore Orioles (Ubaldo Jimenez) @ Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer), 7:05 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez) @ Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler), 7:10 PM EDT

New York Mets (Seth Lugo) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright), 7:15 PM EDT

Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin) @ Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels), 8:05 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates (Chad Kuhl) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta), 8:10 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (James Paxton) @ Chicago White Sox (Anthony Ranaudo), 8:10 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Robbie Ray), 9:40 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Matt Moore) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Ross Stripling), 10:10 PM EDT

Let’s play the “how long has it been since the Cubs won the World Series?” game!

1908 Cubs
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It started with a no-good St. Louis Cardinals fan being a troublemaker. That no-good Cardinals fan was Drew Silva, who began things innocently enough, noting that, despite their dominance this season, any team can theoretically beat the Chicago Cubs in a short series because that’s just how baseball goes:

Cubs fans started giving him guff for that, so Drew gave some back:

And with that it was on like Donkey Kong (a super old video game which was not invented for another 73 years after the Cubs last won the World Series). I tweeted this:

And with that, my followers went crazy. Here’s a sampling of some of the best ones:

And, for that matter . . .

Too soon. Unlike the last Cubs World Series title.

Like I said, this was just a sampling. I’ve retweeted a ton more on my timeline and those I didn’t retweet can be seen in the replies here. My favorite one may have been “literally the invention of sliced bread,” which debuted in 1912, but I can’t find that tweet.

Please, Cubs fans, have a sense of humor about this. You have a wonderful ballpark that is not named after a third tier mortgage company, a grand history that is fantastic even if it hasn’t featured any championships and a future that is as bright or brighter than any other team out there. Maybe even come up with some of your own in the comments! History is fun! As is self-deprecation! What I’m saying is don’t be salty about this sort of thing. Salty is a bad look.

In other news, the Morton Salt Company was incorporated in 1910, two years after the Cubs last World Series victory.