Boston Red Sox's Adrian Gonzalez, left, singles and drives in a run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, in Baltimore. Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (32) looks on. The Red Sox won 6-3. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
The deal's not done, but here's the tipoff that something really big up: At Boston's Fenway Park, Mauro Gomez is playing first base tonight for the Red Sox against Kansas City.
Never heard of him? Neither have most Red Sox fans. The player they know, the one who's hitting .300 and who's driven in 86 runs this season, is out of the Red Sox lineup — and maybe for good.
Slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who's played in 123 of Boston's 125 games, is on the bench while the team's front office works works out a blockbuster trade with the Dodgers.
This week, the Red Sox put Gonzalez on waivers, a common late season practice for losing teams that want to rid themselves of big contacts. Gonzalez has one of the biggest: a seven-year, $154 million deal that runs through 2018.
The Dodgers put in a claim for Gonzalez, and that opened the window on trade talks.
MLB.com reported today that the Dodgers had been awarded a waiver claim on Gonzalez. ESPNBoston.com later reported trade discussions between the Red Sox and Dodgers were underway, and the prize was Gonzalez.
CSNNE.com then reported the Dodgers had been awarded another waiver claim, this time for Red Sox pitcher josh Beckett. MLB.com confirmed that, too.
That clears the way for a giant deal that would send Gonzalez and Beckett to L.A. Several media outlets say the Dodgers would also get injured outfielder Carl Crawford and utility player Nick Punto from Boston.
The Dodgers would in turn send rookie righthander Rubby De La Rosa, one of L.A.'s young pitching stars, to the Red Sox.
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman is reporting that Dodger first baseman James Loney also would head east in the deal. Loney was yanked from the lineup for tonight's Dodgers-Marlins game in L.A.
FOXSports.com's Jon Morosi says pitching prospect Allen Webster, minor league outfielder Jerry Sands and minor league infielder Ivan DeJesus round out the trade.
The deal, if it happens, would bring the Dodgers one of the top hitters in baseball, but maybe not much more.
Gonzalez is at the top of his game, but not Beckett. He's 5-11 this season with a 5.23 ERA, both career lows. Crawford is out for the season after Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. Nick Punto is batting only .200.
But adding Gonzalez to a lineup with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez energizes the Dodgers just when their pennant hopes had taken a blow with a three-game sweep this week to the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers now trail the Giants by 3 games in the National League West, but there are still six weeks left in the season.
Adrian Gonzalez could make those six weeks a happy time in Los Angeles.
The trade, should it happen, is also proof that the Guggenheim Baseball Partners, the team's new owners, are more than willing to spend now to win now.
Along with the $154 million owed Gonzalez, the Dodgers would take on the the last five years of Crawford's seven year, $142 million dollar contract, plus the last two years of Beckett's four-year, $68 million dollar deal.
Comparatively speaking, Nick Punto is pocket change. He's owed one more year on a two-year, $3 million contract.
As for reaction: San Francisco Giants fans aren't taking the news of the likely trade well.
The team's official fan Twitter account sent out this: