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Red Sox Trade Tree: How the Adrian Gonzalez Trade Won the Red Sox the 2013 World Series

Sometimes, money is just as good of an asset as players are.

 

The trade deadline may have passed, but that doesn’t mean there will be no more trades. Arguably the biggest trade the Red Sox have made in the past decade came on August 25th, 2012, when the putrid Red Sox, managed by Bobby Valentine, traded All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto, and cash to the Dodgers for Allen Webster, Ivan De Jesus, James Loney, Rubby De La Rosa, and Jerry Sands.

 

Ok, where do we even start? We’ll get to the financial aspect later; let’s start with the players.

James Loney was a stop gap simply because the Red Sox needed somebody to play first for the rest of the year. He hit .230 with 2 home runs before signing with Tampa in the offseason. The easy one’s done.

Allen Webster was once a top 50 prospect in baseball, but his MLB career was a disaster. He made 23 career starts and had a 6.13 ERA with just 7 quality starts. Rubby De La Rosa was another failed experiment with the Red Sox, he had a 5.56 ERA in 11 relief appearances in 2013 and a 4.43 ERA in 18 starts in 2014. The two were flipped along with Raymel Flores to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Wade Miley.

Miley was essentially the ace of a hideous 2015 starting staff, he had 11 wins but a 4.46 ERA. Still a decent pitcher today, Miley was traded the next winter with Jonathan Aro to the Mariners for Carson Smith and Roenis Elias.

Elias has been a minor leaguer for the most part, but Smith was the big piece here. He was excellent in his first full MLB season with the Mariners, in 70 appearances, he had a 2.31 ERA and 11.8 K/9 while allowing just 2 home runs. The Sox though they were getting a solid 8th inning reliever in front of Craig Kimbrel, but after just 3 appearances, Smith went under the knife and had Tommy John surgery, and he hasn’t pitched in an MLB game since. He could help the Sox bullpen by the end of the season however. He pitched a scoreless inning in Pawtucket on Tuesday while reaching 91 mph. It’s a big step for Smith and would be a big lift to the Sox bullpen come playoff time. Smith is still just 27 and has 3 more years of control after this season.

 

Phew… that branch is done. Back to the main deal.

Ivan De Jesus, 25 at the time, got 8 plate appearances with the Sox in 2012 without recording a hit. He was out of the league until 2015 where he then had 2 decent seasons with the Reds. Jerry Sands was a player to be named later given to the Sox on October 4th. He never played for the Sox and has never found a consistent job in the MLB. De Jesus and Sands were dealt with Sox disaster Mark Melancon and Stolmy Pimentel for All Star closer Joel Hanrahan and a throw in by the name of Brock Holt.

Yes, the same Sox disaster Mark Melancon who just signed a 4 year, $62M contract with the Giants and the same Brock Holt who hit for the cycle and was an All-Star in 2015 while playing 5,000 different positions.

Hanrahan was supposed to be the Red Sox solution at closer that hadn’t been replaced since Jonathan Papelbon left. That was very much not the case. He pitched in 9 games with a 9.82 ERA before having Tommy John surgery. Thank god for Koj- We’ll get to that later. A no named throw in who they called Brock Holt was also sent to Boston. He’s been a super-utility guy for the Sox, playing every position but pitcher and catcher, and putting up solid offensive number (.267/.330/.366 with Boston) that have been skewed by this season’s battle with vertigo.

So there it is. From the package of Gonzalez, Crawford, Beckett, and Punto, the Red Sox only have Smith and Holt today, and Holt is the only one who’s made a real impact.

 

But acquiring the players they did was not the reason this trade was made.

In making this deal, Ben Cherington and the Red Sox shed 58.5 MILLION DOLLARS in 2013 and beyond. We know the atrocity that the Carl Crawford contract was. It so bad that they had to give up an All-Star first baseman just to get rid of him, but as we’ll see, it was well worth it.

So you ask, what did the Red Sox do with that 58.5 million? They signed…

*Takes deep breath*

Ryan Dempster, Jonny Gomes, Koji Uehara, David Ross, Mike Napoli, Stephen Drew, Shane Victorino, and resigned David Ortiz. Did any of those guys do anything? Did they win the World Series the following year? I can’t remember.

Dempster was a fine 4th or 5th starter in the regular season with a 4+ ERA and was a reliever in the playoffs before retiring after the 2013 season.

Jonny Gomes was a 4th outfielder who hit .247 in the regular season, but was a fan favorite and hit the 2nd biggest home run of the 2013 playoffs, in game 4 of the World Series (It would have been the first if not for, you know…). Gomes was a rally leader when it came to overcoming the marathon bombings, Band of Bearded Brothers™, and ridiculous walk off celebrations. Jonny Gomes may have been a 4th outfielder, but he was so, so much more than a 4th outfielder.

Koji was supposed to be the 8th inning setup guy behind Joel Hanrahan, but he only put up one of the best seasons in Red Sox history as a closer. He had a 1.09 ERA in the regular and gave up *clears throat* one run in the 2013 playoffs. He was invaluable to that team and was the most dominant closer in the league when he wasn’t even expected to close heading into the season.

David Ross was a backup catcher for the most part, but was designated to every Jon Lester start and started a majority of the games in the World Series. Ross wasn’t a great offensive producer, but his relationship with Jon Lester and veteran leadership made him a valuable piece to the Sox 2013 run.

Mike Napoli was, uh, good, and let’s say, important. He replaced Gonzalez and couldn’t have done a better job, hitting 23 home runs and driving in 92 runs in the regular season. He was clutch in the postseason as well, hitting the 3rd biggest home run of those playoffs (yes, we are now ranking the biggest home runs), a solo bomb in a 1-0 Game 3 of the ALCS.

Stephen Drew was basically what Stephen Drew has been his entire career, great defender, not a great hitter. He did hit probably the 5th or 6th biggest home run of that playoff run (idk there might have been a bigger one at 5 I’m forgetting) in game 6 of the World Series to make it 4-0.

Shane Victorino was excellent in right field. Winning a gold glove and hitting .294 with 15 home runs, the Flyin Hawiian was more than the Red Sox could have asked of him. He hit the 3rd biggest home run of the 2013 postseason, a go ahead grand slam in the 7th inning of game 6 to send the Sox to the World Series.

David Ortiz: He hit the biggest home run of those playoffs, if you’ve somehow forgotten.

 

So there you have it. That’s how the Adrian Gonzalez blockbuster with the Dodgers was a massive reason why the Red Sox were World Series champs in 2013. The Sox directly acquired zero impact players and indirectly just one, but by giving the Dodgers Gonzalez in order for them to take the contracts of Crawford and Beckett, they cleared enough money to build a third of a World Series team.

 

And maybe David Price can lead them to another one this year.

 

Read my last trade tree here.

Follow on twitter @jlabruins

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  1. Pingback: Why the Red Sox will win the World Series... and Why They Won't. - The Intersection

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