SBD/August 27, 2012/Franchises

Red Sox "Reshape" Roster, Team With Mega-Deal With Dodgers

Cherington said that the Red Sox had been in talks with the Dodgers all year
With the Red Sox completing “one of the most significant trades in baseball history” by sending 1B Adrian Gonzalez, LF Carl Crawford, P Josh Beckett and 2B Nick Punto to the Dodgers, the first question is “the most obvious one: Why did the Red Sox make this shocking move,” according to Peter Abraham of the BOSTON GLOBE. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said, “We recognize that we are not who we want to be right now. We felt like in order to be the team that we want to be on the field, we needed to make more than cosmetic changes.” Abraham noted the Red Sox are also sending the Dodgers $11M, about 4% "of the $275.69 million owed” to the outgoing players. Cherington said, “To build the team that we need, that the fans deserve, that we want, required more of a bold move to give us an opportunity to really reshape the roster, reshape the team.” He added the Red Sox have been talking to the Dodgers "all year.” Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino “prodded the deal along in recent days, dealing directly” with Dodgers President Stan Kasten. Cherington said that the trade was a “baseball decision more than an attempt to change the personality of the team.” Cherington: “The bottom line is we haven’t won enough games. That goes back to last September” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/26). Cherington added, "It was not a trade that was made to try to fix a cultural problem" (ESPNBOSTON.com, 8/25).

STARTING OVER: In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy wrote, “You want them to blow it up? This would be blowing it up.” The trade “marks the end of a failed era of big names, big salaries, big egos, and maddening underachievement” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/25). Also in Boston, Nick Cafardo wrote in “one fell swoop,” Cherington wiped “the slate clean.” He now has “practically a blank canvas on which to paint his own Picasso.” Cherington can build the team around 2B Dustin Pedroia “in a dirt-dog image and no longer has to feed the monster so much that he has his hands bitten off” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/26). CBSSPORTS.com’s Scott Miller wrote, “Call it a cleansing. … The sooner the Red Sox begin clearing out some of their toxic mess, the better” (CBSSPORTS.com, 8/25). In Boston, Christopher Gasper wrote with the trade, the Red Sox “got back something much more valuable than more than a quarter of a billion dollars of financial flexibility -- their baseball soul.” Cherington, in essence, “issued a rebuke of the way the Red Sox have done business for the last three years, breathlessly chasing buzz and throwing money around like a Kardashian.” The Red Sox “also reclaimed their clubhouse” (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/26). SPORTS ON EARTH's Leigh Montville wrote, "For the Red Sox, this was an exorcism, a cleansing, a purge. The four players weren’t traded as much as they were voted off the island, sent home from the runway." Montville: "In the perpetual reality show that is Boston baseball, these were the perceived villains. They were exiled, cast adrift, dropped like so much ballast. They were sent packing with a good boot in the pants on their way out the door" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 8/26).

FOR THE PEOPLE: In Boston, Eric Wilbur wrote, “For better or worse, the Red Sox are our Red Sox once again. For the first time in years, there seems to be a plan” (BOSTON.com, 8/26). In N.Y., Peter May wrote the trade was a "Febreze-like move from Red Sox management, which understood it needed to do something dramatic to cleanse the clubhouse as well as shake up an underachieving roster.” A Boston Herald headline from Saturday -- "Bums Away" -- "pretty much sums up the feeling of Red Sox fans.” Callers to local sports radio talk shows “expressed similar sentiments” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/26).

IT IS HIS TEAM NOW: In Boston, John Tomase noted in one bold stroke, Cherington “not only shredded the very fabric of the Red Sox, he also served notice that we’re about to do things his way.” Tomase: “A new era is upon us. And there’s a new man leading it” (BOSTON HERALD, 8/26). In Toronto, Chris Ruddick wrote, “It's not often that a 38-year-old GM's legacy is defined five months into his initial season, but that is certainly the case now with Cherington, who gets a chance to build this Red Sox team any way he sees fit after taking a wrecking ball to the team his predecessor, Theo Epstein, built” (TORONTO SUN, 8/26). The HERALD's Tomase in a separate piece noted the trade was a significant step “on the road to navigating the Red Sox out of their morass and back into something resembling respectability” (BOSTON HERALD, 8/26).

END OF AN ERA: In Chicago, Phil Rogers wrote the Red Sox “de-Theoed the franchise.” With this trade and a June trade that sent 3B Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox, the Red Sox’ front office is “shredding the team Epstein left behind” to join the Cubs. Lucchino and Red Sox ownership “want to show him they’re smarter than he is” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/26). Also in Chicago, Rick Telander writes under the header, “While The Cubs Have Pinned Their Hopes On Theo Epstein, The Red Sox Are Erasing His Legacy” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/27).
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