On August 12, 2012, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto for Ivan De Jesus, James 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:
- 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;
- 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) :
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- Crawfish is done.
- Gonzalez is also gone but the Dodgers had to take $21,500,000 back in the form of Matt Kemp.
- 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…