I think this has sunk in enough to weigh in with a verdict: This is an incredibly risky move.
The essential part of the trade is acquiring A-Gon. He’s a bonafide impact bat, sure to be a hit in the community, and he solidifies a position with no in-house candidates or possible FAs on the horizon. Getting him is a huge positive for the team.
Obviously, in order to get him, we had to assume two other contracts. Beckett had worn out his welcome in Boston (big-time) and his track record of success makes him at least a reasonable gamble. Assuming some sort of Beantown Malaise was responsible for his poor performance recently, he brings vast playoff experience and—I guess—reasonable upside. After 2012, he’s signed for two more years, a comfortable span of time for him to get his career back on track before cashing in one more contract. (I realize all this depends on his not being injured or on a steep decline, which he may well might be.)
Crawford is the enigma. Several commenters here called him a deal-breaker. Evidently the Dodgers did not. In order for this trade to be worth it, Crawford has to return to something resembling a valuable major league player. Hopefully, he has been humbled by his Boston experience and comes back from injury motivated and driven to be a good player again. I doubt he will ever be elite again, but we don’t need him to be. (Again, all Beckett disclaimers apply here too.)
In terms of what we gave up, it’s a curious mix. Loney and IDJ2 are essentially valueless. Sands, while still a prospect, clearly was not a major piece to give up (Even I, who believes Sands can still be a starting OF someday, don’t see him as a key loss going forward; he’s Andy LaRoche at this point.) Now we get to the uh-oh part of the deal: giving up Rubby and Webster. Many people have wondered why we had to give up two stud “prospects” while also taking on so much salary. I consider it a talent tax for such a serious exchange of players. Boston had to be compensated in potential value if they were going to part with three major league pieces. Whether it’s fair or not is not for me to say, but it had to happen to facilitate the deal. The Dodgers were probably so far into this fantasy that they weren’t going to let two young arms stand in the way. (For the record, I think we may regret trading Rubby someday; Webster I’m fine with including.)
I realize I haven’t said anything that others haven’t already said. This trade reminds me of two things: the Piazza trade and the Kevin Brown contract. The Piazza trade was a disaster: this deal at least doesn’t involve moving a major league star and trying to recoup his value. That trade was a mess from the get-go, predicated on a contract dispute. There is no dispute here; or if there is, it’s on Boston’s end. A-Gon and Sheffield are comparable, as are Bonilla and Crawford. Come to think of it, Beckett and Charles Johnson even share some similarities (if you squint just enough in your mind’s eye). While we did give up Rubby and Webster, they are a long cry from Piazza, the greatest Dodger—along with Orel—I’ve ever seen.
That leaves us with Kevin Brown. His contract, while wildly lavish, was actually reasonable value for an ace pitcher. It was just the wrong time, wrong team, wrong whatever. I remember seeing the scroll when it happened and getting so exciting when I saw we signed him then so confused/shocked when I saw the price. I feel somewhat the same here, though the timing is much better.
Overall, I’m glad we did it. Why the hell not? It’s just baseball, we needed a 1b now, a LF for next year [regarding Puig, who the hell knows?], and we could afford to take a gamble on Beckett. While we might rue the day we parted with Rubby & Webster, we also may not. Adrian Gonzalez is simply too good and too perfect for us to pass up.
Full steam ahead. Damn the torpedoes. “There is no later. This is later.” Cormac McCarthy said the last part, and the Road ahead just got a lot more interesting for Dodger fans.