If you are reading this post, you already know the big story out of MLB this weekend was the Boston and Los Angeles trade this weekend. The Red Sox sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto to the Dodgers in exchange for James Loney, Allen Webster, Ivan DeJesus, Jerry Sands, and Rubby De La Rosa. Wow, talk about a mega-blockbuster type deal. Especially for a waiver wire type trade.
So let’s get to the nitty-gritty. Who “won” this trade and was it a smart move for each franchise?
The first player I’ll go over is Adrian Gonzalez. After 2012 he will be under contract for another six years and $133mil. From 2009-2011, Gonzalez put up fWAR’s of 6.2, 5.6, and 6.6. He was an annual MVP candidate and arguably the best first baseman in baseball behind Albert Pujols and Joey Votto. But he’s had a “down” year in 2012 and is projected to finish 2012 with a fWAR of 4.2- which would actually be the fourth best mark in his career. Going forward, we can expect Gonzalez to still be a very good player even if he is entering his 30s and leaving the prime of his career. In 2013 I have him as a 5.0 WAR player and the $/WAR should be around $4.5mil, as it’s come down in recent years. Beyond that, one should typically decrease WAR by 0.5 per year and increase the $/WAR by $.25-$.5mil. That will give us:
WAR: 5.0 in 2013, 4.5 in 2014, 4.0 in 2015, 3.5 in 2016, 3.0 in 2017, and 2.5 in 2018.
Value (WAR x $/WAR): $22.5mil in 2013, $21.375mil in 2014, $20mil in 2015, $18.375 in 2016, $16.5mil in 2017, $14.375mil in 2018
Now, from 2013-2016 he makes $21mil a year, and he makes $21.5mil in 2017 and 2018. So, when compared to what he’ll actually be worth, which is $113.125mil. So he’ll cost about $20mil more than he is worth, meaning Gonzalez comes out as a loss for the Dodgers in the long run in this deal. One point to make though is that Gonzalez is a significant upgrade over James Loney, especially this season. So he will be more valuable to Los Angeles than bare bones analysis will show.
Now, onto Crawford. He has five more years left on his contract, but he will miss about 1/3 of the 2013 season recovering from Tommy John Surgery. He will be 31 next season and coming off back to back seasons where he failed to even accumulate 1.0 fWAR. He can still be an above average hitter, but as he gets older the days of his elite defense may be over. That will be the true story to whether he will ever be a good player again. If he can age like Ichiro defensively, he will have value. If not, the Dodgers better hope he can hit his way to being an average player. Here’s how I see it:
WAR: 2.0 in 2013, 2.5 in 2014, 2.0 in 2015, 1.5 in 2016, 1.0 in 2017.
Value: $9mil in 2013, $11.875mil in 2014, $10mil in 2015, $7.875mil in 2016, $5.5mil in 2017.
That’s a total value of $44.25mil. He will earn $83.825mil, a difference of about $40mil. So right now the Dodgers are acquiring a value of -$60mil. Yikes.
Onto Beckett. He will have two more years left after 2012. 2012 has been a nightmare season, but he will still finish with an above average fWAR. Moreover, he had a great season last year, which is forgotten because of his role in Boston’s 2011 collapse. Being conservative, I see him putting up a 3.0 WAR in 2013 which has a value of $13.5mil and a 2.5 WAR in 2014 which has a value of $11.875mil for a total of $25.375mil. He will make a total of $31.5mil in that time span. So by now the Dodgers are acquiring a value of -$66mil.
The fact the Dodgers are eating so much money on relatively lost contracts should be good enough for a fair trade. But they are also giving up some big name prospects. James Loney will be gone after 2012, so he is a negligible factor in this deal. The same goes for Nick Punto.
Allen Webster is a 22 year old who was the pre-season #2 prospect in the Dodgers system. He’s made 39 career AA starts, so he’s close to the ML level at a very young age. According to Victor Wang’s prospect research, Webster as a top pitching prospect is worth $15.9mil. So the Dodgers are seemingly shooting themselves in the foot at this point…and hand and arm and neck, etc etc. Rubby De La Rosa was the Dodgers 2010 minor league pitcher of the year before TJS and he is still only 24 years old. He may end up a reliever at this point, but he can become a good ML pitcher. Ivan DeJesus is a filler, but Jerry Sands is another player that could contribute the ML level. Cost-controlled with a good minor league track record. Not a superstar, but he can contribute.
So who wins? It depends on how you look at it. In the long run, Boston ABSOLUTELY wins this deal. They were able to dump nearly $260mil in contracts and trade off three 30+ year old players. Normally that’s good enough but they also got two potentially good ML players and a top pitching prospect. Moreover, the saved money allows the Red Sox to reinvest it younger, better players in the free agent market. Zack Greinke anyone?
While this trade can handicap LAD in the long haul, one can argue this is a smart deal in the short run. They are currently in a playoff chase, and should they make the playoffs anything can happen. If the Dodgers do happen to win the World Series this year, or even next year, then one can see how the deal would be worth it. Especially because when you look closely at the contracts and value of the players the Dodgers received, the financial losses don’t become a financial hindrance for a couple more years.