By Josh (9 Inning Know It All):
With the blockbuster trade that became official this weekend people are starting to question whether or not the Dodgers are simply the Yankees of the West. To that I simply say, yes they are and it’s about time. For too many years the Dodgers, who are one of the most historic teams in all of baseball, have been seen as the team that has underachieved in the front office year in and year out.
The west coast has been slowly slipping in its relevance in sports over the past decade. College football talk used to always include the Pac-10 (now 12) in discussions for national championships but that has changed. Don’t use the Oregon made the championship game excuse because they don’t match up to the power houses in the SEC.
NFL on the West coast barely even exists. Seahawks made the playoffs with a losing record, Oakland hasn’t been competitive for a while, the 49ers looked good last year but that was after 5 or so years of obscurity and the Chargers….well no one really sees them as a team outside of Philip Rivers.
This trend has even come into the MLB on the west coast. Yes, I know the Giants won the World Series two years ago, but outside of the Giants fans most of the baseball world has completely forgotten that even occurred. The Mariners have been bad for a few years and if not for Felix the team would be the Astros of the AL West, which by the way the Astros will be the Astros of the AL West soon enough.
This trade makes the Dodgers relevant across the nation once again and that will bring even more attention to sports on the west coast. No longer can teams just hope to slide on by. Look at what the AL East has become with the Yankees in that division. The Orioles are playoff contenders, the Blue Jays have become a solid team, the Rays are threats to make the World Series, and the Red Sox are willing to spend what it takes to win (they just aren’t very good at doing it).
Now to take a few moments to break down the trade. First off I know the Dodgers took on like a quarter of a billion dollars in contracts and I know that they gave up James Loney who was really liked in the clubhouse but I have totally confidence that the Dodgers got the better of this deal.
Adrian Gonzalez gives the Dodgers a middle of the lineup hitter who is very familiar with the NL West. This isn’t a shock to him and he is a proven commodity. If you are an opposing team do you really want to face Kemp, Gonzalez and Ethier in order?
Josh Beckett has not been very good this year but you move him to the NL and his ERA is going to drop. Then put him in the NL West which has pitcher friendly ball parks and week offenses. The best offense in the NL West is the one team he won’t have to face, his own.
Everyone is joking about having Nick Punto put in this deal like he is a joke of a player, but just ask the Giants how important role players can be in the playoffs. Punto is a solid back up with experience.
Carl Crawford is the worse piece of the deal for the Dodgers but if by some miracle he not only heals well but also finds his old playing skills think of that outfield; Ethier, Kemp and Crawford. Even an average Crawford makes that outfield pretty nice to have.
Oh and the Red Sox got a few players that aren’t going to save that franchise from the problems they are facing. They have a coach who shouldn’t be there and no real direction in the front office.