A Final Parting-Shot to THE TRADE

On August 12, 2012, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Adrian Gonzalez,  Josh BeckettCarl Crawford and Nick Punto for Ivan De JesusJames Loney Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands from the Boston Red Sox. Some Dodger fans call it the Nick Punto Trade, evidently because of his insignificance.  When the trade went down, I immediately wrote “the Dodgers will rue the day they made this deal.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I wrote that for two reasons:

  1. I thought that was way too much to give up, and I believed at least a couple of those players traded (particularly De La Rose and Webster) would be very good MLB Players.  To date, that has not occurred;
  2. The main issue was the amount of money the Dodgers had to tie up with two aging veteran players, one of whom (Carl Crawfish) had already demonstarted that he could not stay healthy.

I though it was ludricus then and I still believe it.  Some people immediately branded me as anti-Adrian Gonzalez, which was (is) a total lie.  A-Gon was a solid player, on the back side of his career and was a good citizen.  While not a natural leader, he was a player others looked up to and emulated his work ethic.

Let’s look at what Crawfish and Gonzalez did in their tenure with the Dodgers (Salary is in parenthesis) :

  • 2012
    • Crawfish was on the DL when he was traded and did not play ($19,500,000 pro rated)
    • Gonzalez hit .297 as a Dodger with a .344 OB% and  a slightly above average .785 OPS ($21,000,000 pro rated)
  • 2013
    • Crawfish had 435 AB’s and hit .283 with a .329 OB% and his OPS was an average .736 ($20,000,000)
    • Gonzales hit 22 HR and drove in 100 while hitting .293, with a .342 OB% and .803 OPS which is slightly above average ($21,000,000)
  • 2014
    • Crawfish continued his decline with only 343 AB’s and while he did hit .300, his OPS was an average .767  ($20,250,000)
    • Gonzalez had his best year as a Dodger hitting 27 HR and driving 116 with 41 doubles while hitting .276 and OPS’ing .830 which is above average ($21,000,000)
  • 2015
    • Crawfish had only 193 AB’s and hit .265 with a .707 OPS ($21,357,000)
    • Gonzalez had another above average year with 28 HR and 90 RBI, hitting .275 and OPS’ing ,830 which is above average ($21,857,000)
  • 2016
    • Crawfish logged 87 AB’s before the Dodgers had enough and released him ($21,607,000)
    • Gonzalez  declined to 18 HR and 90 RBI and OPS’ed .784 which is on the high average player side ($21,857,000)
  • 2017
    • Crawfish just collected his salary while sitting at home. ($21,857,000)
    • Gonzalez  was injured most of the year and had only 231 AB’s while OPS’ing .642 ($22,357,000)
  • 2018 
    • Crawfish is done.
    • Gonzalez is also gone but the Dodgers had to take $21,500,000 back in the form of Matt Kemp.
  • 2019
    • The Dodgers have to pay Matt Kemp another $21,500,000

If the Dodgers had a crystal ball that was capable of looking into the future, would they have made that trade in 2012?  HELL NO! It should not be lost on anyone  that after the RedSox dumped these bad deals, they were able to win the World Series the next year.  Taking on long-term deals for aging vets is typically a recipe for disaster.  I understand why Kasten and Colletti made the deal:  they felt they had to do something to stimulate interest in Dodger baseball and show they were serious, but that’s not what happened.

Forget what they paid Beckett.  The Dodger paid over $230 million doallrs in salary to Gonzo and Crawfish – For that kind of cash, they should have had two superstars, but combined, they were always below average. They would have been better off to forget THE TRADE and used the prospects for asome other pieces.  They should have left James Loney at 1B and spent that $230 million on a few good players. Torii Hunter would have been an upgrade at $26 million for 2 years over Crawfish.

They could have signed Russ Martin (the first deal),  Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltra, Nelson Cruz and Brain McCann for less than that. It was an insane allocation of funds, however they managed to get through it and have won 5 straight division titles and have the best record in baseball duriung that time… no thanks to THE TRADE!

I was certain that Carl Crawford would not live up to his deal, but the BoSox made the Dodgers take him to get A-Gon.  Adrian Gonzalez was not worth $21,000,000 a year for the past 3 years (including 2018), but he sure as heck was not worth the COMBINED $43,000,000 the Dodgers had to pay him and Crawford.  Had that deal not been done, the Dodgers could have been in a position to add a Justin Verlander last year… and what a difference it would have made!

THE TRADE was not as bad as letting Pedro or Piazza go, but it was certainly a debacle the Dodgers will attempt not to repeat. I’ll guarantee you this:  If Andrew Friedman was President of Baseball Operations in 2012, that deal woud have never been made and I am sure he would have figured out a less expensive, better way…

THE TRADE – R.I.P.

Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don't do game recaps or such things -- lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don't think they are the "end-all-be-all.". This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We'd like to hear your voice.

This article has 69 Comments

  1. Not sure why you’re attaching Kemp’s 2019 to your debate. McCarthy and Kazmir’s contracts are just as responsible for the Dodgers having to take a 2nd year of Kemp’s money.

      1. I did not count Beckett or what the Dodgers paid or didn’t pay in 2012.

        Just 13-17 and I only included half Kemp’s salary – The number is $233 Million.

        I hope Colletti and Kasten are around when I want to sell my house!

  2. As I remember the Dodgers weakest position was left field and biggest need was a cleanup hitter. Loney was a good #6 hitter that feasted on fastballs. He was good against late inning fastball throwing relief pitchers.
    .
    A left fielder that could serve as a cleanup hitter would have served the Dodgers better than the TRADE.

  3. Agree, however fazturned around and hired McCarthy, Anderson, Kazmir which was an almost total waste of money. Having McCarthy on last years roster helped secure an Astro win.

    1. 1. They did not sign long-term deals; and
      2. Part of the reason they didn’t was because of CrawGon.

      Those were bad deals, but they totaled less than half of what CrawGon was paid. They HAD to do something like that and hope they got lucky – they didn’t!

  4. Baseball 101: If you sign or trade for a guy nearing 30 years old, whose game is highly dependent upon speed and he has a history of injuries, you can rest assured it will get worse…. much wosre.

    If they could have gotten A-Gon without CrawDad, I would have been down with it.

    I think, FAZ gambed that Anderson, Mac and Kaz would be healthy half the time. Anderson was, and Kaz was close, but Mac messed it all up. If they had that same crystal ball, they would say HELL NO!

    When FAZ got to LA, they had four really bad contracts worth almost $90 Mil a year: Kemp, Ethier, Gonzo and Crawdad. You can have one… maybe two, but 4 is crazy!

  5. THE TRADE RIP – really???
    You’re like Nicholas Cage loading up his cart in the market!!
    Writing this after 9 comments and 5 from you…
    Looking back is a fool man’s wisdom…
    If I were a gamblin man i’d say Kemp will be the next angst ICON..
    Come on S.T.

  6. For all you fellow Dodger addicts out there, I got “The Big Chair” by Ned Colleti for Christmas yesterday and haven’t put it down since. Highly recommend this book, the guy is a great storyteller. He is a total baseball lifer, and the stuff he talks about as far as dealing with players and agents, as well as some other front office guys is mesmerizing. Anybody 40 something and older will know all the guys he talks about in this book. Hadn’t had a good read like this in years. Haven’t even got to the Dodgers part yet.

  7. As you know, I completely disagree with you about THE TRADE. What you don’t mention is that the Dodgers’ farm system at that time was mostly in disrepair, thanks to Frank McCourt’s total unwillingness to invest any money in it. As I’ve noted before, the Dodgers were number 30 out of 30 teams in the amount of money they spent on international talent in 2011, the year before the sale.

    That trade was nothing more than a one-time measure to bolster the team, and keep it competitive until home-grown talent was ready. And it worked, as evidenced by 5 consecutive division titles. And as much money as the Dodgers were spending, they were also reaping the benefits of MLB leading attendance over all those years., and the added revenue from 5 consecutive post season appearances.

    And at the same time they were committing large amounts of funds to payroll, they were doing the same in the player procurement area. Let’s not forget that Puig was signed in 2012, as was Urias. Even Corey Seager was drafted that year. And in every year since the Dodgers have invested heavily in acquiring new talent, which is the total antithesis fo what occurred under McCourt. Guaranteed that in 2012 Stan Kasten was thinking that it takes about 5 years to develop a steady pipeline of talent from the farm to the Dodgers. And it seems to me the Dodgers are right on schedule with two consecutive rookies of the year, and a well-stocked pipeline behind them.

    And, as I’ve noted before, FAZ was hired by Kasten because what they’re doing now is exactly what he was looking for.

    And I don’t necessarily agree that FAZ would not have done the same deal under the then current circumstances.

  8. Brooklyn, you’re peeing in the ocean to raise the tide!!! With that said I agree!!!
    M.T. is well…… M.T.

    1. $233 million for essentially… A-Gon, has got to be one of the worst deals ever.

      And you would still do that now, in retrospect?

      Really?

  9. Let me break it down even more. That $233 million that was spent on A-Gon and CC was not really needed in 2016 and 2017 and now, 2018. So it was really $233 million that served a purpose for 2013, 2014 and 2015. That’s about $78 million for three years of a GOOD, not GREAT A-Gon.

    I’m just saying…

  10. Angels won a championship with 0 FA’s and I believe Detroit is also on that short list as well. So it could be argued that any spending over minimum is bad. Nothing like winning a championship to put those butts in stadium seats, which mostly does so for the following season but when teams suffer long periods without obtain the crown other points need being placed for success. I believe ‘The Trade’ was more for the point to build more interest in the franchise than it was for winning the crown. Boston and Chicago went far longer the LA without winning it all and as money goes both were successful franchises for their owners. I’m sure the money in rolling in for Kasten and Co. and I’b bet they see what they spent as chump change to what they’re raking now. To them money well spent. To us still no title.

    1. Wow!Guess I was feeling no pain and no brains writing the above. Oxy-codone at work. But my real drug of choice is flomax – nothing better than the ability to empty my bladder along with being able to hold off more than just a few minutes.

  11. I think if Friedman was with the Dodgers back in 2012 as Mark said the trade would not have been made, and yes Friedman did sign McCarthy, Anderson, and Kazmir, but for 4 years, not 10 years, and only because the pitchers the Dodgers wanted were going to cost too much, in dollars and years, but more important in prospects, namely Seager, Urias, and Bellinger. Friedman and Zaidi are not cheap, they have a strategy that involves a strong minor league, player development, not investing in FA, avoiding long-term contracts that are going to take players into their mid to late 30’s ( Stanton and maybe Kershaw ) and always look at the long-term instead of the short term. I look at the giants ( with nothing more than short-term solutions that are costing money and just about all their prospects and so far solving nothing ) and without Friedman and Zaidi that could be the Dodgers.

    1. Most long term deals do not pan out:
      Pujols
      Hamilton
      Price
      A-Rod
      Tulo
      CrawGon
      Kemp
      Ethier
      Cueto
      Greinke
      Gordon
      … and a lot more. Especially in the post-steroid era. These guys blow up in their early-mid 30’s.

      Legalize HGH and Steroids!

  12. Ok legalize hgh and steroids, then set contracts back to what a player does on a given year. Do away with guaranteed contracts.

    1. Get the Union to agree with that!

      Actually, it looks like the market is not into paying what they used to. Most of the reliever deals (high they might be) are only for two years and the big names haven’t got a sniff!

  13. Ned Colletti didn’t do shit!!!

    Andrew Friedman ain’t done shit!!!

    Penalties off-set.

    Reset the play clock to year 30

    Replay 4th down – goal-to-go!!!

    WS RING – AWOL – SINCE 1988

  14. The McCourt era bilked the organization of everything from international scouting to the enormous and lucrative property that surrounds the stadium. They drove some of the most loyal fans in baseball to rebel by the masses. At the time of the sale to the Guggenheim group, who took all other bidders out of the mix by seemingly overbidding them to the point that Frank had no reason to continue his quest ant further. Vin Scully even made note that this was the final ownership change he was willing to forego. Tommy was silent for what I suspect was the only point in his life.

    It was a risky deal, (although done withing the 1st three years of opening said business) that gave hope and the new found belief that the Brand of Dodger baseball you were about to see, was in it to win…

  15. Mark. I was lead here by a friend from the Dodgers old Inside The Dodgers site. I used to follow you back in “08” or somewhere’s. We all got kicked out of that blog for misbehaving. Somehow after the reorganization of that group, I lost your link. I don’t have any recollection of IdahoAl. I will say, that after residing here in the Treasure Valley section of my state for over 20+ years. I haven’t seen many baseball fans in general. Until recently…now, I get stopped if I wear my hat and jersey out in public. Okay, maybe I got stopped before as well…but at least now they don’t yell get out of the car with your hands up!!

    1. I.E.,

      One thing we pride ourselves in around here is being able to disagree without being disagreeable. For years, I had a few (very few) commenters whose sole purpose in life was to torment me. Life is too short for that and they are gone. We als have opinions – some do not like my opinion of THE TRADE. But, we can disgaree. Welcome!

      1. I.E. is my off-season name. I will switch it at some point. I have a hard time getting on the guys after Opening Day So this season I chose to I unleash I.E. on ’em during the hot-stove season,. ( Not that that matters any.) I’m more of an optimistic follower after they begin the quest to capture the crown

        The Trade is a probably a subject that has been dissected over and over more than anything else. In hindsight it didn’t change the fact that we are now going on 30 years without being the last team on the playing field…which unfortunately happened on our own hallowed grounds in 2017.

  16. Mark says this is his “final shot” at “the trade”. We can only hope so. He has been fixated on this for as long as I have been looking at this blog. Now that everyone from the trade is gone, I had hoped that we had already heard the end of this.

    We all have our own pet peeves. I will probably keep complaining about starting pitchers who have trouble pitching 5 innings, 8 man bullpens, “the shift”, too many platoons, pitch counts, etc. This is obviously Mark’s.

    What will happen if this is really the “last shot” – what will he write about?

      1. Are you attempting to obtain a law degree on YouTube as well…I must warn you, it’s harder than fixing the alternator on a truck…You’re gonna need an abundance of fixtatings both metric and standard.

  17. He could always write about how saber-metrics are propelling players who are struggling, such as Logan Forsythe and his offensive emergence after becoming more aggressive at the plate, or Kenta’s ability to get right handed batters out from both the front-line and bullpen effectively. You could always pen a piece around the ever changing Puig. Barnes hit like a seasoned pro from the bench last season. That spot will need to be filled again. How about the fact that Chase Utley was a solid buffer between Manager and clubhouse…something that was clearly missing under Mattinglys control? I like this new front office, they are prudent in selecting pieces for the future, and always arming those pieces with knowledgeable bits of information, which may have always been the case, but it’s surfacing more publicly as a valid tool.

  18. He could also write about how for the first time in 60 what 7 years? We went through an entire season without Vinny. And survived to tell about it. (I wasn’t certain of this at one point.) Did you get the chance to check in on Joe Davis, The Bulldog and Nomar during 2017? I have MLBTV and get every broadcast team except the Mariners…I thought they did very well, Each and everyone of them have made improvements along the way.

  19. I was just looking at the Dodgers’ 40 man roster. Matt Kemp (DOB 9/23/84 – age 33) is now the oldest guy on the roster. Second oldest is Justin Turner (age 33). Forsythe is the only other position player 30 or older (he’s 30).

    Pitchers 30 or older – Hill (37), Fields (32), Koehler (31), Jansen, Ryu, Liberatore (all 30).

    The team is younger and that’s a good thing.

    1. I was thinking about this after watching my grandson the other day. I was wondering how the team can continue to dominate on offense. It has to be easier to repeat the muscle memory and functions required to obtain success? I’m sure you could pen an article around all the other advantages this entails as well.

  20. Heh, there is another guy from Idaho on this thread. I am also from the Treasure Valley. Elwood sounds like a Lapwai, Idaho name. We have a Spokane Bob also on this site.

    1. I’m from the “Kuna Tribe”, Idaho Al, mainly the 4 block section with all the drinking establishments. I used-to-could track a good shot of whiskey down in exactly 327 steps – It took 454 to get home though. Been here since 91.

  21. The shift IMO would become a thing of the past IF these million dollar babies knew how to Bunt… I was a lil better better than avg catcher with below avg speed, but from day one my Pop drilled me on bunting… Just the sight of an empty left side drives me nuts…

      1. No! Don’t do that! That will land you on the DL. Then traded. Then released immediately, in which you will then be awarded free-agency. Hey! Wait a minute!

  22. I read that first thing this morning and thought to myself….Did Mike and Margy collaborate on this intelligently scripted piece.? Then came over here and Bam knew it was gonna be a good day. Glad to be here…although, I’m sure I’ve commented years ago…you know before the dust bowl set in and the land became barren.

  23. Who’s idea was it to put a breathalyzer on the comment section?

    Gotta say…uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh…

    #Captha

    1. For some reason, Word Press puts your comments in moderation every time. Not sure why. Did you create a log in?

  24. So, it’s below ZERO here in Indy and evidently Free Agency is a thing of the past, so I was watching the Pacers lose and making my famous chili:

    Big Pot
    2.5 pounds sirloin
    1.0 pounds lean hamburger
    1.0 pounds hot Italian Susage

    Simmer the meat in 8 oz. of tequila

    5 different types of beans, all the tomatoes, etc.
    8 oz. of tequila
    Full bunch of cilantro
    1/2 pound brown sugar
    1 red onion
    1 yellow onion
    1 full head of garlic
    Carroll Shelby’s Chili Pkg.

    A few other secret ingredients and it was awesome!

  25. ” Bring The Ring” you said Colletti and Friedman didn’t do much (I am paraphrasing)
    With what Ned Collette had to work with I believe he was pretty successful. He wasn’t given much when he took over in 2005 and through 2012 under McCourt (and his tight fist and reigns ) it was remarkable that he had any success at all.
    As far as FAZ is concerned, after a 29 year absence , in 3 years FAZ puts a WS team together. They did everything right to produce that ring. Losing game seven is not on Faz. Plus they have protected a stellar crop of prospects and have a team favored to win the ring in 2018. So I for one don’t agree with your assessment of Friedman ( and Farhan Zaidi )
    I believe the have and are doing the right things to end this miserable drought.

  26. I didn’t say it…Tommy did. Right before game #7. You Ain’t Done Shit Until You Win The World Series!

  27. As far as Friedman, Zaidi and Colletti go. They have all been successful to a point. I can give you a much deeper assessment if you give me time.

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