It still feels like a dream.
I’m not one of those people who can’t deal with change. I roll with the punches and in a lot of instances actually look forward to things changing, but this one didn’t seem possible. Watching this season unfold, one of the constant warnings I got from people with darker thoughts than my own was that as long as the team had all those big contracts hanging over them, not much would change over the next couple of years. I still don’t know that I completely agreed with that idea (I think changing the manager again might not be the worst thing to happen to this team for 2013) but now we’re going to get the chance to find out what the new General Manager is made of, I guess.
Yesterday’s press conference where Ben Cherington announced the trade was just as surreal as the one back in 2004 when Theo Epstein announced he had traded Nomar Garciaparra. One of the major differences, of course, being that most of us watching yesterday had almost 24 hours to process the idea of Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford being traded. Another difference was, instead of looking nervous as if he was wondering what he had just done (hello, Theo), Ben looked confident. There didn’t seem to be any question (at least not betrayed by his demeanor or what he said) that he did what he wanted to do and was pleased with the outcome. Still, much like the Nomar trade, before Friday this wasn’t something anyone saw coming.
Trying to think about this from a completely neutral point for just one moment. When Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Ben that not only did he want Gonzalez but he’d take Beckett and Crawford…and their contracts…as well as Nick Punto, do you think it took Cherington that long to say ‘yes’? Not too long ago, I had a discussion about Josh Beckett with someone who’s been covering the Red Sox for about 20 years and the two things I came away from it with were that most felt he was as bad a presence lately as Carl Everett was back in the day and that the Red Sox were going to have to pay someone to take him off their hands. I just never saw a scenario in which a team would happily pay to bring him and his contract on board without the Red Sox taking a major hit.
Which leads us to the major hit…losing Adrian Gonzalez. Personally, I’m more bothered by losing Carl Crawford because I really feel like he never got to truly play like I think he’s capable of in Boston. But that’s really just me as a fan wanting to see someone I’ve like watching play for a long time do well with my team. The Dodgers really wanted Gonzalez and were willing to spend as much money as they had to in order to get him. So bully for them and I think, eventually, bully for the Red Sox too.
In the long run this will most likely be a trade that works well for both sides. I hope that’s the case. (Well, let me amend that. I hope it’s the case for the Red Sox and the players they traded. I’ve never been a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers and never will be.) Right now, although I can’t say I’m displeased with the move that Ben Cherington made, I feel like someone just knocked down the Lego tower it took us days to build.