- Sunday, August 26, 2012 11:27 AM
- Written By: Dodgers Diaries
Let me get this part out of the way first: I love the acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez, a San Diego native who will energize the Latino fan base in Los Angeles. His three-run homer in his first at-bat yesterday is the first of many dividends he will provide. And his defense may be superior to the offensively disappointing James Loney, who went to Boston in this deal.
Let’s just hope somebody can figure out a better nickname for him than A-Gon. Because it has the word “gone” in it, using the first-initial, first syllable of last name nickname structure isn’t quite as lame as it is for A-Rod (M-Teja anyone? S-Vict? A-Eth? A-Puj? M-Hol?
But I hate the other parts of this puzzle. Josh Beckett seems like a malcontent whose best days are behind him. I loved the Hanley Ramirez deal, even though he seemed like a malcontent, too. But Hanley is only 28. Beckett is 32. Big difference there.
Carl Crawford has an albatross of a contract for a player who has never played up to his potential. His ability to steal bases appealed to people who don't understand OPS, but even those days were three years ago. He has stolen just 23 bases in the past two years, and hit just nine triples. His return from Tommy John surgery (for an outfielder!) is another nine months away. As he has gotten older (he just turned 31), he has become injury prone. Nick Punto? The Dodgers already have a third baseman who can’t hit his weight?
I also don't like giving up Allen Webster and Robby de La Rosa, two of the Dodgers top pitching prospects. De La Rosa may not become Pedro Martinez, as some have suggested, but I do believe he would have been the #3 starter in the Dodgers’ rotation in 2013. Not bad when your No. 1 is Clayton Kershaw and your No. 2 is a guy who won six straight starts before hitting the DL.
More than the players involved in the trade, however, I don’t like the economics. Taking on an additional $250+ million in salary for one All-Star and three spare parts is lunacy. It turns the Dodgers into the west coast version of the Yankees, a team that spends its way to success rather than building from within.
I tired of the Yankee way just as I was leaving New York. Bringing in hired guns like A-Rod and Clemens and Teixeira undoubtedly created a team that made the postseason almost every year. But they became a team that was hard to root for, because they were expected to win every game. When they lost, it was almost a personal affront to the fans.
The high payroll also turned Yankee Stadium into a cathedral for the rich. Economists say high player salaries don’t translate into high ticket prices. But I’m wary. The joy of Dodger Stadium is that it’s affordable and timeless in its beauty. Turning it into New Yankee Stadium would make it less appealing to me.
Experts also say the expected TV deal will make a quarter of a billion dollars look like chump change. Again, I’m suspicious. If the Dodgers have this kind of money to waste, they didn’t need to keep Juan Uribe and his piddling $8 million contract on the bench. I worry that a year from now, when Beckett and Crawford are both sucking, management will be just as reluctant to eat those contracts. The only problem is Crawford is signed through 2017. It’s as though, having finally shed the onerous contracts of Juan Pierre and Manny Ramirez (they’re still paying Andruw Jones, if you can believe it!) they decided to take on an even bigger financial headache.
If Crawford stands in the way of the Dodgers playing a better option, be it Yasiel Puig or whoever, this trade will continue to plague them for years down the road.
-- JOHN ROSENTHAL