If you're worried the Dodgers are becoming the Yankees West, let me remind you:
Eight years of McCourt ownership.
It's karmic payback time, Dodger fans.
Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times called it: The Dodgers are trading two of their best young arms and three iffy position players for a stud first baseman, an injured outfielder and a disgruntled starter, all on the wrong side of 30. Oh, and $260 million of contracts.
So...what are the positives?
1. Adrian Freakin' Gonzalez. Welcome back to the NL West, Adrian! The addition of Gonzalez gives Mattingly two lefty power bats and two righty power bats to mix and match in the lineup — for at least the next two years. And for those who'll miss James Loney's defense, Gonzalez has also won three Gold Gloves.
2. Were you hoping for Josh Hamilton instead? Gonzalez is 30. Hamilton, with his well-documented liabilities, is actually a year older. Vernon Wells, whose contract some are comparing to Gonzalez's, will be 34 at the start of next season.
3. The Red Sox still have to follow through. Boston is collecting a lot of praise for creating financial flexibility, but how many holes did they just create? What's their next move in an weak upcoming free-agent market headed by Hamilton? As SoSG Stubbs puts it, "I can't think of anyone less suited to cope with Boston than Hamilton."
4. Bye bye Blanton? Pending an announcement regarding Billingsley's tender elbow, how does Kershaw/Bills/Capuano/Beckett/Harang sound? I can't find any recent statistical evidence to support this, but I'm a believer in the pitchers-switching-from-AL-to-NL bump. Make it from the AL East to the NL West and it's not unreasonable to expect an improvement in Beckett's performance.
5. Whither Yasiel? Carl Crawford just had Tommy John surgery. Like, two days ago. No, really. So it's unlikely he'll be ready for the beginning of next season. Shane Victorino wants a multi-year deal, so he'll be gone. Does this put Yasiel Puig on schedule for a 2013 debut in Dodger Blue?
I'm not sure why taking on over a quarter-billion of salary still requires the Dodgers to surrender De La Rosa and Allen Webster to get the deal done. ("As one rival executive asked Friday night: Why didn’t the Dodgers just do Gonzalez for Webster and De La Rosa?" writes Ken Rosenthal.) Losing Rubby and Webster sucks, but as they say, you gotta give to get.
Maybe we just added a few albatrosses to the aviary. Here's hoping they're worth the risk.
photo by Juan Ocampo/Dodgers