As the Dodgers completed the largest trade in team history yesterday, everyone has their opinion. There are the people that are excited about the trade, the people that hate the trade because they don't like the idea of buying a team, and the people that just hate the trade because they hate the idea of Crawford and Beckett wearing Dodger Blue to allow Gonzalez to be the All Star First Basemen the Dodgers have been longing for for years.
I'm giving my two sense because of the many opinions that have been expressed in the last day+. However, the post that made me want to truly write a response was the post earlier today by Phil. Posters who have been reading the site for years know that I have a large amount of respect for Phil as a writer and we have had many constructive conversations among many topics. This trade is one topic we disagree on.
The Dodgers started the year with James Loney, Juan Rivera, Juan Uribe, and Dee Gordon as starters. The Dodgers had two cogs in their lineup, Kemp and Ethier, but nothing more. In reality, the only reason we had any chance was our pitching. We had an owner who was not interested in spending any money on this team, to the point where a 5M contract was the biggest signing of the offseason when most fans were hoping to contend. At this point, we all knew McCourt was on his way out, and wasn't interested in spending even a penny more than needed.
Enter Guggenheim Baseball Management. They showed they wanted to not only own the Dodgers, similar to how McCourt treated them like a trophy, but also wanted to make them a winner. The Dodgers quickly made a statement, extending Ethier and signing Puig to a large contract. Both seemed like an overpay, but most likely were necessary to avoid free agency bidding for Ethier, Hamilton, Swisher, and others. However, to this point, we were the same team that we started the year with. Lets fast forward to July.
Team had amazing pitching. Team had horrible offense. Kemp was out, Andre was out, Ellis was out. But yet, the team kept winning. Hanley Ramirez had worn out his welcome in Miami. Did he deserve to be kicked out? Hell no. He was an all star talent, surrounded by next to nothing. All the blame went onto his shoulders. Amazingly, he couldn't handle it. The Dodgers to get him gave up a 22 year old with 5+ years of control who has a fastball that sits at 95 and a good breaking pitch. While this could be seen as a salary dump, the Dodgers gave up something of significant value to every team. The Dodgers had plenty of pitching to be able to pull off the deal. Along with Hanley also came a very effective reliever. Hanley's contract helped the deal, but for the Dodgers it made them a better team. Day before the deadline now. The Dodgers needed a LF. The Phillies had one that is going to be a free agent, and they were out of the race. Shane Victorino came up through the Dodgers system and was the perfect target. The Phillies, like every other team, wanted pitching. The Dodgers, unlike most teams, had enough to spare. However, to make the loss a little less to the MLB team, they acquired Brandon League as a precursor to Shane Victorino being sent the Phillies. When you combine the two trades, it was an overpay, but could be very important down the line, and worth A ball prospects, no matter how promising (League's trade). In three trades, the Dodgers added Hanley, Choate, League and Victorino. In other words, 3 former all stars and very good reliever for Eovaldi, Lindblom, Martin, and Landry.
The Dodgers were revamped at this point. It was August, and nothing more seemed possible. Hell, I even remember reading a quote from Jon Daniels, "It's unusual to find an everyday player, a starting pitcher, but you can find some quality role players or relief pitchers out there." The Dodgers did just that. Claiming Cliff Lee, but the Phillies were not interested. They acquired Joe Blanton from the same Phillies, but he is no Cliff Lee... Then comes in Boston. The Dodgers reportedly discussed a deal before the deadline for Adrian Gonzalez, but were rebuffed. However, ground work was laid. The Dodgers had interest, and Boston had the main piece. Carl Crawford cleared waiver, so did Punto. Gonzalez and Beckett were on waivers within hours of each other. The Dodgers saw their chance. An every day player, a starting pitcher. Exactly what Daniels said you cannot find. The Dodgers had 48 hours. Adrian Gonzalez alone is a franchise player. And he was paid like one. Josh Beckett was key to bringing a world series to Florida and Boston. Minus this season, he is a pitcher that you use to anchor your rotation. In LA, he is expected to be our 3rd or 4th starter. Crawford is the wild card. He was an amazing player two years ago. He has been hurt since then and Boston has not given him the chance to be healthy. Again, a person who wanted to get out. The three were paid handsomely and are all stars, Cy young contenders and have gotten MVP consideration in the past. The cost... Rubby De La Rosa, Jerry Sands, DeJesus, Loney and Allen Webster. Again, the main part was pitching. And money. However, this was a franchise altering trade that will set a core of Andre, Kemp and Gonzalez for the next 5 years. Beckett is here for next year as well. Crawford will be here for 5 years as well. Pieces that are here for multiple years and are all stars.
People complain and moan. The Dodgers don't spend money. The Dodgers don't attract top flight players. Now the Dodgers owners want to win, and fans are angry? The Los Angeles Dodgers, owners of the largest sports market in the nation, came into the year with an 80 million dollar payroll(not counting dead money). I'm sorry, what!? Now the Dodgers will have a payroll that is COMPETITIVE, not blowing the competition away. And yet, fans are angry? We want to win. We want to field a competitive team. Here, look at this:
LF: Victorino 1. Kershaw
CF: Kemp 2. Billingsley
RF: Andre 3. Beckett
3B: Cruz 4. Capuano
SS: Hanley 5. Harang
If you want the Dodgers to win, lets watch them win. Our offense is on par with Texas. Our pitching is at the top of the league. Why complain when we can win?