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  • Patrick Gunn

Looking Back at Dodgers-Red Sox Trade at 10

by Patrick Gunn

August 25, 2022

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Sometimes, teams make trades that affects the future of the teams more than any one player can. The Dodgers and Red Sox made such a deal 10 years ago at the August Waiver deadline (remember that?). Los Angeles just brought in a new ownership group and wanted to push their chips towards a playoff run by bringing in a star in Adrián González. Meanwhile, Boston wanted to offload some bad contracts and reset after a disastrous 2011 collapse and 2012 start under Bobby Valentine.


The Yankees may have not been involved in this deal, but the trade impacted baseball for the next decade in the two teams’ philosophies since. Looking at the deal, none of these players directly led either team to a championship but the move facilitated a major culture change within both organizations, for better or worse – and Boston may face another such change this offseason.


(Note: the statistics shown here come from Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, I’m mainly looking at their playing times with the Dodgers and Red Sox, and their fWAR I added by hand)


THE DODGERS GOT:


Carl Crawford (2013-2016, .278 BA, .320 OBP, .400 SLG, 18 HR in 320 games, 102 OPS+, 2.7 bWAR, 4.0 fWAR):


A former all-star never regained that standing from a combination of injuries and under performance. He had his moments, including a solid 2014 season but did not improve with the change of scenery. Crawford ended up not playing the final two seasons of his contract.


Josh Beckett (2012-2014, 3.39 ERA, 4.29 FIP, 35 games all starts, 21.8 K%, 8.0 BB%) 202.0 innings, 106 ERA+, 2.3 bWAR, 1.3 fWAR)


Beckett gave the Dodgers a decent run in his swan song. A groin injury capped his 2013 season at eight starts, but he made 20 solid starts in 2014 to help them reach the playoffs before a hip injury ended his season and, ultimately, his career.


Nick Punto (2012-2013, .258 BA, .335 OBP, .325 SLG in 138 games, 88 OPS+, 2.3 bWAR, 0.8 fWAR):


Punto spent the least number of seasons with the Dodgers of this group and, by Baseball-Reference standards, gave the team a lot with his versatility. He did capture the attention of one Danny DeVito, so he’ll always have that.


Adrián González (2012-2017, .280 BA, .339 OBP, .454 SLG, 101 HR in 735 games, 119 OPS+, 14.3 bWAR, 10.1 fWAR):


The star of the deal, González mostly lived up to the billing for his first three full seasons in Los Angeles. No, he did not put up the same numbers he did with the Padres or even his first season with the Red Sox, but he anchored their lineup for several years. He made one all-star team, led the league in RBIs in 2014 (if you still acknowledge that statistic), and contributed in the playoffs. Oddly enough, his Dodgers tenure ended as a part of a trade to Atlanta to bring Matt Kemp back to LA.


THE RED SOX GOT:


James Loney (2012, .230 BA, .264 OBP, .310 SLG, 2 home runs in 30 games, 55 OPS+, -0.3 bWAR, -0.3 fWAR)


The longtime Dodgers first baseman spent significantly less time with the Red Sox. Los Angeles needed to move on from their clubhouse staple to welcome González. He bounced back with the Rays the next two seasons, helping them make the playoffs in 2013 and even hitting .417/.533/.583 against Boston in the playoffs.


Allen Webster (2013-2014 Majors, 6.25 ERA, 5.08 FIP, 65 ERA+, 19 games 18 starts, 134.1 Innings, 14.6 K%, 11.4 BB%, -1.4 bWAR, -0.3 fWAR)


Webster was a top prospect for the Sox after the trade – FanGraphs listed him as their number four prospect in 2012, only behind Xander Bogaerts, Matt Barnes, and Jackie Bradley Jr (Fun Fact: Mookie Betts was called a “sleeper” on this list as a second baseman out of high school). Unfortunately, Webster never got the same opportunities as those other players I named. He spent his two-plus years in Boston splitting time between the minors and majors and ended up being traded to the Diamondbacks for Wade Miley. He was joined by another prospect mentioned here…


Rubby De La Rosa (2013-2014 Majors, 4.54 ERA, 4.43 FIP, 88 ERA+, 30 games 18 starts, 113.0 innings, 16.2 K%, 7.5 BB%, 0.3 bWAR, 0.2 fWAR)


Another talented player traded for Wade Miley. At least De La Rosa had a little bit more of an extended look in a messy 2014 for Boston, but he also did not get the time to develop fully in Boston’s system. He has made a name for himself as a reliever in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants.


Jerry Sands (Never Played for Boston)


Thems the breaks for a lot of player trying to break into MLB. Sands never played a single game for the Red Sox, getting traded to Pittsburgh for Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt in the 2012 offseason. He also never played with the Pirates, bouncing around teams before going overseas. Sands did have a stellar 2019 season for the Kiwoon Heroes in Korea, having a .305/.396/.543 slash line while playing with current Major Leaguer Ha-Seong Kim.


Iván De Jesús (2012 Majors, eight games, eight at-bats)


De Jesús did get a few at-bats for Boston before joining Sands to Pittsburgh in the Hanrahan-Holt trade. He did return to Boston’s system a few times, and he’s still playing with several leagues around the globe.


So, a major trade where none of the players involved won the World Series with their current teams. In fact, Boston won their World Series in 2013 before the Dodgers and this trade helped. It freed up money to bring in depth players like Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew, and Shane Victorino. Calling up Bogaerts in September helped as well. Losing Beckett helped give Felix Doubront more starts and firing Valentine helped restore the locker room.


Granted, Boston missed the playoffs the next two seasons, but the deal still opened the team up to bring in David Price, Chris Sale, and Rick Porcello, who all contributed to their 2018 run. It would have been harder to make those deals with González and Crawford still on the payroll. Holt became an all-star and a super utility player. Those other 2012 prospects I mentioned – Bogaerts, Barnes, Bradley, and Betts – all played major roles.


The Dodgers were far from major losers in this deal. That 2014 season started a stretch where they won eight straight NL West Division titles that ended when the Giants somehow outdid a 106 win-season for LA. Those players did not help Los Angeles take home a title, but the mindset of bringing in the best players without sacrificing depth or their farm system did. It led them to find diamonds in the rough (Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, Justin Turner) with home grown (Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Cody Bellinger) and paying for some stars (the aforementioned Betts) to win it all finally in 2020.


The Betts deal sparked another similar trade, with the Dodgers bringing in a star for prospects with the Red Sox facing a budget crunch. That trade was less defensible, even if Alex Verdugo has been mostly solid in Beantown. Still, both teams won in the short term: the Dodgers won their title with Betts in 2020, and the Red Sox went on a surprising playoff run in 2021.


But once again, Boston is at a crossroads after a mediocre 2022 with Bogaerts able to opt-out and Rafael Devers up for an extension soon. Unlike with Betts and González, Boston appears to want to keep both long term. If they can’t, well, don’t be surprised if the Dodgers come knocking about Devers.


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