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When Guggenheim Partners took over the Dodgers on April 30, 2012, Stan Kasten took over as team President and at the end of August, 2012 the Dodgers completed the largest trade in franchise history, acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett in a nine-player trade in which they took on more than a quarter of a billion dollars in salary. Magic Johnson said this:
“We did this for our fans. We want to win now. When you bring in the type of players that we’ve brought in, it sends a message to our fans that we want to win. Our players are extremely happy.”
It’s foolish to grade a trade right after it happens, but looking at the collective team success of the two clubs in the four years since that trade, it’s not comparable. The Red Sox won a World Series just a year after the trade. The most amazing aspect of THE TRADE is that none of those players acquired by the Red Sox played a big role in that World Series win and the team that took on the massive salary won nothing! The Red Sox simply used the money saved to get players who helped them win. The Dodgers wanted to put “butts in seats” but ultimately it was counterproductive to winning.
Instead of trading for Gonzalez, the Dodgers could have signed Mike Napoli, who had 23 HR, 38 doubles, 92 RBI and had a .360 OB% that next year. It’s the same Mike Napoli who hit 38 HR, 22 doubles, 101 RBI and a .335 OB% for Cleveland this year. Yeah, he wasn’t/isn’t Gonzo, but he also wasn’t Crawfish either, and we are still paying both! I will spare you all the details, but Dodger’s Nation has an in-depth analysis of THE TRADE. Read it if you like, but it’s time to make a new plan, Stan:
I mention this because THE TRADE has throttled the Dodgers hopes for the past few years and I think it’s time to put THE TRADE out of the present and into the past. This is way overdue. The Dodgers have won the NL West the past four years, but cannot go further with the payroll constraints from the past.
It’s time to move on from old bad contracts and get on with the full youth movement. If it were up to me, I would shed these contracts this winter:
- Adrian Gonzalez – $22.357 Million in 2017 and 2018 – Total $44.71 Million
- Carl Crawford – $21.857 Million in 2017 and we are done! This is lost money period!
- Andre Ethier – $19 Million in 2017 (includes buyout for 2018)
- Howie Kendrick – $10 Million in 2017
Total salaries due Gonzo, Ethier and Kendrick – $73.71 Million
If the Dodgers can dump those contracts for sixty cents on the dollar, they will have $30 million a season to sign Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon. I think they would be better with those three than the other four. I’m not done. I would trade Puig, Calhoun and Gavin Lux (local Wisconsin boy) for Ryan Braun with the Dodgers taking on all but $5 million a year for him. $15 mill a year is doable to me. We overpay by giving them three solid prospects but we get a RH masher. Next, I would trade Joc Pederson and (gasp) Yadier Alvarez for Andrew McCutchen (I think the Pirates would take that – the Dodgers #1 prospect and a young team-controlled CF’er). McCutcher’s contract is up after 2017, so the Dodgers could let him walk if Verdugo is ready or re-sign him. I actually think that in LA and in his walk year, McCutchen might have an MVP-Type Year.
The Dodgers don’t need more pitching – Kazmir, McCarthy or Ryu – at least one will be healthy… maybe more and there are plenty of arms in the minors. I suppose they could re-sign Blanton, but… They can still trade a starter or two, as well!
Here’s how the lineup would look:
- Toles LF (L)
- McCutchen CF (R)
- Seager SS (L)
- Braun RF (R)
- Turner 3B (R with reverse splits)
- Bellinger 1B (L)
- Grandal C (L/R)
- Hernandez 2B (R)
(Tell me that’s not sweet!)
Barnes, Thompson, Segedin, Taylor, SVS
- De Leon
- Ryu or Kazmir
Wood, Baez, Stripling, Dayton, McCarthy, Jansen, Melancon
Buehler, Stewart, Availan, Ravin, Libertore, Nuno
Get younger, get faster, get better. Win it all.
Here’s the salary breakdown (I did it hurriedly, so there might be a couple of errors):
|De Leon||$ 520,000.00|
|Dead Contracts||$ 50,000,000.00|