Dodgers complete deal to get slugger Gonzalez

45997 full
45997 full

And just like that, the empty pockets era of Frank McCourt was gone.

The Dodgers Saturday completed a nine-player trade with the Boston Red Sox that brings them first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, one of the game's top sluggers, plus more than a quarter-of-a-billion dollars in contracts.

It's the kind of trade that the Dodgers never could have considered under previous owner Frank McCourt, nor the kind of trade most teams not named "New York Yankees" could consider now.

But with the apparently deep-as-a-mineshaft pockets of the Guggenheim Basbeball Partners (Mark Walter, former LA Laker star Magic Johnson, sports executive Stan Kasten and financial partners Peter Guber, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly), the Dodgers can buy talent when it's available.

And with the Red Sox sinking in the American League East standings, much of their highest-priced talent was available.

Heading to LA with Gonzalez are veteran pitcher Josh Beckett, injured outfielder Carl Crawford, and versatile utility player Nick Punto.

They carry a combined $262 million in contract obligations that, in Gonzalez's case, extend to 2018.

The Red Sox get pitchers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, two of the Dodgers' brightest pitching prospects, along with outfielder Jerry Sands, infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr., and veteran first baseman James Loney.

Saturday morning, "LA Ties" Dodger beat writer Dylan Hernandez reported the trade had been completed, with Boston agreeing to send the Dodgers $12 million in payments to offset the contracts of Gonzalez, Beckett, Crawford and Punto.

Minutes later, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reported that Gonzalez would be in LA's lineup tonight against the Miami Marlins at Dodger Stadium.

The 30-year-old Gonzalez, a San Diego native, is hitting .300 with 15 home runs and 86 RBIs this season. Last year, the four-time All-Star signed a seven-year, $154 million contract with the Red Sox after he'd been traded by the San Diego Padres.

Beckett, a key performer on two World Series winner (Marlins 2003, Red Sox 2007), is struggling through the worst season of his career. His record is 5-11 with a 5.23 ERA, and he's lost seven of his last eight decisions.

Crawford, another four-time All-Star, underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow this week. He's out for the season. Injuries have hampered Crawford during his two years in Boston. In nine seasons before that in Tampa Bay, the Texas-born outfielder led the American League in stolen bases and in triples four times each.

The best-known of the Dodgers headed to Boston is also Texas-born: first baseman James Loney. He's been with LA since 2006, has a .284 career batting average, and although he's never been a power hitter, Loney was one of the Dodgers' more consistent RBI men when the team won National League West titles in 2008 and 2009.

But this year, Loney's batting average has fallen to .254, and his RBI total is his lowest for a full season. After four years as the Dodgers' starting first baseman, Loney has been relegated to platoon duty.

Gonzalez and his big bat arrive arrive in LA with the Dodgers trailing San Francisco by three games in the NL West race, and a game-and-a-half behind St. Louis for one of two NL wild card slots.

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