The staggering [contract] sums involved only serve to distract from what Colletti has accomplished. He turned three major leaguers who have never played in an All-Star game -- first baseman James Loney, starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and reliever Josh Lindblom -- and seven prospects, none of whom has ever been ranked higher than 90th on Baseball America's annual Top 100 prospects list, into a cache of proven stars, all 32 or younger. "It's not like we went and out and loaded up with players who have the sun starting to set on their careers," says Colletti. "They're in the midst of their primes."
Indeed, through some lenses even the Red Sox trade is not outlandish. The Angels, in December, gave first baseman Albert Pujols a $240 million contract that won't expire until he is 41. The Reds, in April, committed $225 million to first baseman Joey Votto, and they will pay him until he is at least 40. The Tigers, in January, signed free agent first baseman Prince Fielder to a nine year, $214 million deal that will last until he is 36.
For their $260 million, the Dodgers acquired not only Gonzalez -- whom Colletti has coveted since Gonzalez's days with the Padres -- but also Beckett and Crawford, players who are young enough to recapture their elite production of the not-too-distant past. Beckett, after all, is 32, and had a 2.89 ERA just last season. Crawford, though Tommy John surgery will prevent him from playing until 2013, is 31, and two years removed from an MVP-caliber season in which he hit .307, with 30 doubles, 13 triples, 19 home runs and 47 steals. Even if they disappoint, the Dodgers won't be paying them into their dotages, as each of their deals expires when they are 36 or younger.
The entire article, a fine piece on the character of Colletti, is worth a look.