A lot has been written, is being written, and will be written about the Red Sox and Dodgers trade that sends Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and $12 million to Los Angeles in exchange for James Loney, Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Jerry Sands and Ivan De Jesus going to Boston. It’s both literally and figuratively a very big deal.

There are several areas at which our interest might be directed:

  • The amount of talent being acquired by the Dodgers.
  • The amount of prospective talent being acquired by the Red Sox.
  • Boston essentially resetting the the direction that the team was heading.
  • Los Angeles embracing its role as the Yankees of the Pacific Coast.

While the Dodgers bolstering their roster – with only the San Francisco Giants ahead of them in the National League West – and the Red Sox improving their organizational depth – by embracing a rare mid-season rebuilding philosophy – are fascinating ways of looking at this trade, I’m far more interested by the implications created by a baseball team exhibiting a willingness to embrace more than $270 million in payroll commitments that another is willing to shed.

This is a game changer. In acquiring these contracted players from the Boston Red Sox, the Los Angeles Dodgers are saying one of two things: Either 1) We believe that Gonzalez, Beckett, Crawford, and Punto will give us more value on the money that’s already been committed to them than we would find on the free agent market this off season (with the additional bonus of immediate improvement ahead of a potential playoff run this year); or 2) We’ve got such a willingness to spend the money coming our way when we sign a contract for broadcast rights to a regional television sports network that the model by which we currently judge value and worth of players is about to be drastically altered – flags fly forever.

Let’s find out which statement the Dodgers are making with this deal first by looking at the current model and what the players coming to Los Angeles must be able to produce after this season to make this trade worthwhile. We’ll accomplish this by examining every contract that is being picked up here and assuming ta $5.5 million cost of one win above replacement in 2013, 5% inflation, and a 0.5 WAR decline each year for a player in his thirties.

Adrian Gonzalez: 6 years/$133 million. Anticipates 20.5 total WAR. Views player as 4.7 WAR true talent.

2013 – $21 million salary - $5.50 M $/WAR – Paying for 3.8 WAR – Anticipating 4.7 WAR
2014 – $21 million salary - $5.78 M $/WAR – Paying for 3.6 WAR – Anticipating 4.2 WAR
2015 – $21 million salary - $6.06 M $/WAR – Paying for 3.5 WAR – Anticipating 3.7 WAR
2016 – $21 million salary - $6.37 M $/WAR – Paying for 3.3 WAR – Anticipating 3.2 WAR
2017 – $21.5 million salary - $6.69 M $/WAR – Paying for 3.2 WAR – Anticipating 2.7 WAR
2018 – $21.5 million salary - $7.02 M $/WAR – Paying for 3.1 WAR – Anticipating 2.2 WAR

Carl Crawford: 5 years/$108.5 million. Anticipates 17 total WAR. Views player as 4.4 WAR true talent.

2013 – $20 million salary - $5.50 M $/WAR – Paying for 3.6 WAR – Anticipating 4.4 WAR
2014 – $20.25 million salary - $5.78 M $/WAR – Paying for 3.5 WAR – Anticipating 3.9 WAR
2015 – $20.5 million salary - $6.06 M $/WAR – Paying for 3.4 WAR – Anticipating 3.4 WAR
2016 – $20.75 million salary - $6.37 M $/WAR – Paying for 3.3 WAR – Anticipating 2.9 WAR
2017 – $21 million salary - $6.69 M $/WAR – Paying for 3.1 WAR – Anticipating 2.4 WAR

Josh Beckett: 2 years/$31.5 million. Anticipates 5.5 total WAR. Views player as 3 WAR true talent.

2013 – $15.75 million salary - $5.50 M $/WAR – Paying for 2.9 WAR – Anticipating 3.0 WAR
2014 – $15.75 million salary - $5.78 M $/WAR – Paying for 2.7 WAR – Anticipating 2.5 WAR

Nick Punto: 1 year/$1.5 million. Anticipates 0.3 total WAR. Views player as 0.3 WAR true talent.

2013 - $1.5 million salary - $5.50 M $/WAR – Paying for 0.3 WAR – Anticipating 0.3 WAR

Overall, the Dodgers would anticipate approximately 40 wins above replacement from these players if they were going by the current model, minus two wins that the financial considerations that the Red Sox are paying should cover. That only seems ridiculous in that it’s largely dependent on the performance of Carl Crawford. His first two seasons in Boston were a nightmare and now he faces a six month rehab from Tommy John surgery before he plays baseball again. The contracts that the Dodgers picked up on Gonzalez and Beckett appear to be reasonable for the amount of production we might expect from them, as they’re currently paid an amount that their true talent level, in looking back at their past three seasons, suggests they deserve.

Of course, the loss of potential value in the players that were sent the other way should be tallied onto this, but there should also be some recognition of the Dodgers’ current place in the standings and their proximity to playoff baseball. If we cancel those factors out, and focus only on the financial aspect of the deal, the reward in this case is that the former Boston Red Sox players provide the value that they’re being paid to provide. The major risk is that Carl Crawford does not. In other words, the risk simply doesn’t match the reward.

So, what we’re left with is something in between the two statements I suggested that the Dodgers might be making with this deal. A best case scenario would likely be the money spent merely equalling the production. To me, that suggests that Los Angeles and their current situation, in terms of both finances and standings, isn’t too concerned with overpaying for talent. However, it’s not as if they went about the acquisition of these players in a reckless enough manner to suggest that they’ve turned the system on its head.

This is merely how a big market team should be behaving. They’re spending a lot of money, but spending like this isn’t foolish if you can afford it. If anything, I see the Dodgers as being quite clever in noticing how far luck and randomization had conspired to take them in the early-going of the season, and now they’ve prepared their roster in a fashion for which they can make their own good luck. For the first time in a long-time, Los Angeles is being well-managed, and while that might strike fear in the front offices of other teams, it’s not doing the same to those teams’ ownership groups … at least, not yet.

Comments (25)

  1. That is a lot of salary to take on for the Dodgers. Do you think they will still be big players in the offseason? I know the regional television contract is huge but still…how much more should we expect from this organization?

    • What part of west coast Yankees was unclear? They can’t lose money if they try.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if they still went after Greinke. It’s not just the tv contract they have an ownership group that sees the dodgers as not just a business but a hobby and are willing to put money into it even if they may be losing some in the end.

  2. Think it’s safe to say that the Dodgers will, like everyone else, cap themselves at the 190 mil luxury tax number?

  3. The Red Sox are making a smart move. On the other hand, the Dodgers are nuts. Besides Gonzalez they are getting a bunch of overpaid players, one that cant stay healthy and one thats getting fat and ineffective. Sox kept the heart of that team with Pedroia, Ortiz, and Ellsbury.

    • Uhhhh… They kept Ortiz for the last few months then will be lucky to have him re-sign IMO. He’s getting old and might want to chase another ring.

      Ellsbury has had one ridiculously good season and also can’t stay healthy. He is under team control for next year only.

      Pedroia too is signed for only two more years. So its not like they have a core locked up for the next 5 years. They’ve hit a full reset and that can be a difficult process back competitiveness. Especially when you don’t have a plethora of impact players in the system.

  4. I’m confused why Boston are getting anything of value back in return. Would Cherington really turn that deal down with only a couple of C prospects coming back in return?

  5. From what I understand the pitchers they got are both potential top of the rotation guys that project to be number two starters. These aren’t C prospects. And the Sox were unloading two really bad contracts at the expense of one really good first baseman. They unloaded $260 million dollars of contracts including a ludicrous contract that Carl Crawford can’t live up to. It’s not that he isn’t a good play, but he’ll never be worth $21 million dollars a year. And there is no way Beckett should be getting $17 million a year to throw 90 mph. In the past two years he has lost 5 miles per hour on his fastball. They now have 60 million dollars per year to spend on players that can actually live up to their contracts. They weren’t going anywhere this year. I don’t understand why this is difficult to understand. I will be shocked if this trade works out for the Dodgers.

  6. they are very much B type prospects these players were no where near the top 20 list on any rankings so for them to be at the top of the dodgers prospect list just means the dodgers dont really have the bluechip A type prospects available. That being said Boston still have money and i do expect them to go out in the offseason and spend the money to get better ie Grienke

  7. holy fuck parkes , your choice of words makes everything look so god damn complicated lol

  8. and well what about grienke’s “social anxiety” issues and “not wanting to go to a big market” issues .. is boston gonna look like a good market to a guy who was happiest and most effective pitching in markets like KC and milwaukee ??

  9. I give grienke a 0% chance of going to boston

  10. So now that Rogers owns The Score, surely the clock is ticking on you drunk fucks.
    Have fun in the unemployment line!

    • Maybe if you read the actual reports you’d realize you’re a fucking imbecile.

      • In his defense, the reports are lame.

        Get a summary from a website like the globe and mail. Tells you all you need to know, plus more that isn’t included in the report on like background info…

    • Only bought the TV. Bought a 10% stake in the digit section, but did not buy it.

      I was surprised to learn that the Score website and apps are their fastest growing sector and get as many views as ESPN does!

      Good article on the buy: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/rogers-will-only-have-small-stake-in-score-medias-digital-growth/article4499177/

      • Don’t really understand the deal from Rogers’ perspective. Congrats on acquiring an app (which you could have just invested in development – its not rocket science) and the rights to show the WWE…

        • Yeah, I don’t get it either.

          I guess they get another channel to show content on, but the Score’s app and blogs is what they really should have wanted since that is their fastest growing part.

          But they did acquire 10%, so maybe they will get more in the future.

          My question is, are they gonna get kicked out of the Score towers and have to find a new spot for their office, or will Rogers keep the app and blog guys there?

  11. Really weird seeing Magic Johnson as the face of ownership of this new Dodger team. Nothing wrong with that, just saying that its a strange occurrence.

    I guess the Dodgers have to do something to keep up with the Lakers making big splashes this offseason.

  12. “We understand that you have to spend money to be good in this league,” said Magic Johnson, the former NBA star who is part of the rich new Dodgers ownership group that has dramatically revamped their roster in the last month.

    Hear that ROGERS?!!

  13. This has nothing to do with WAR (from the team’s perspective). They add huge stars, create hype, and provide evidence that they will continue to do so, thereby creating some great everage in negotiating their new TV deal. Simple. There is a possible exponential reward, which you didn’t factor into your stat/$ analysis.

    • You’re way off. It’s been shown thousands of times how names alone don’t increase attendance or tv audiences. It’s all about winning. This helps them do that, as Parkes lays out.

      • Bob is not way off at all…he was talking about the potential revenue from their upcoming TV deal. The direct revenue generated by that does not involve stadium attendance at all.

        The broadcaster negotiating the deal could easily pay a premium for the names/stars being brought in and/or their perception of the effect of this type of trade could fly in the face of what has ‘been shown thousands of times’ (i.e. limited impact on actual viewer numbers). The broadcaster might feel they can pick up more revenue from advertisers with the new approach by the team.

      • Of course it helps them win. No one in their right mind would debate that, all they did was acquire wins.

        But this is a fairly unique situation in that a brand new ownership group will be negotiating a new deal that could span the next 10 years or more. The new group has shown very quickly and emphatically that they will push the envelope with regards to talent, payroll, publicity (having Magic as a figure-head will help too). They can legitimately push the fact that they are deeply committed and will be for the duration of the broadcasting partnership. Yes, these are partnerships.

        I just think this is a really important aspect of the deal that is conspicuously absent from this analysis. I like the analysis, it’s just a bit of a narrow approach to a complicated “real world” situation.

        Do you NOT think this new ownership group will be able to negotiate a larger deal than Mccourt would have?

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