One year ago today Red Sox fans were staring the worst season since 1965 right in the face. Now, one year later, Red Sox fans are staring at a new-look, fun, and energetic Red Sox team that is in the middle of the playoff hunt. This season, whether you want to believe it or not, would not be possible without the events of August 25th, 2012.
As everyone knows, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington came to terms with the Los Angeles Dodgers to a trade that would send superstar Adrian Gonzalez, World Series hero turned beer and chicken connoisseur Josh Beckett, Boston-hater Carl Crawford, and utility man Nick Punto to the west cost for a bunch of prospects. The Red Sox would not be where they are right now without this trade.
Crawford, who often reiterates that he never really felt comfortable in Boston, and Gonzalez are both now starting for the Dodgers. Beckett sits on the DL. The Dodgers have been the hottest team in the MLB, but don’t be fooled. Powered by starting pitcher and Cy Young front runner Clayton Kershaw and rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers probably would still have been where they are without the former Sox players. Realistically, Gonzalez and crew are just along for the ride in LA.
In Boston, the prospects are making a bit of a splash, but nothing that’s turning any heads. More importantly, with the trade Cherington was able to free up over 200 million dollars to set in motion his plans for rebuilding the team. With the money, the Sox were able sign guys like Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, and Mike Napoli while also being able to re-sign Dustin Pedroia.
Trust me it was no accident that the MLB decided to send the Red Sox to Dodger Stadium for a weekend series that falls on the one-year anniversary of the Cherington trade (and I do believe this trade could come to classify the new GM’s career). The two division leaders meet for the first time since the Sox swept the Dodgers at Fenway in June 2010.
The Red Sox got lucky and will not have to face Kershaw this weekend, but the game to watch is the Saturday late afternoon match-up between Jon Lester (11-7, 4.09 ERA) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (12-4, 2.95 ERA).