Adrian Gonzalez leads the majors with 41 runs batted in since the All-Star… (Jim Rogash / Getty Images )
The Dodgers are on the verge of completing what would be one of the most spectacular trades in their history, a nine-player waiver deal with the Boston Red Sox in which they would acquire former All-Stars Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett.
The agreed-upon trade, in which Gonzalez was viewed as the centerpiece, is revolutionary from a financial standpoint. The Dodgers are expected to be taking on more than $260 million in salary obligations, a staggering amount considering Crawford recently underwent elbow surgery and Beckett appears to be far removed from his best days.
In addition to Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett, the Dodgers will get veteran utility infielder Nick Punto, according to four people familiar with the details of the trade. The Dodgers will send the Red Sox a package that includes first baseman James Loney and four minor leaguers: right-handers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, outfielder Jerry Sands and infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr.
In the 30-year-old Gonzalez, the Dodgers will receive more than a player who not only can be an offensive anchor for several years. Gonzalez is bilingual and of Mexican heritage, which could energize the Dodgers' largely Latino fan base.
Miami Marlins reliever Heath Bell played with Gonzalez on the San Diego Padres. Gonzalez was with the Padres from 2006-2010.
"You're going to get a class act," Bell said. "He definitely doesn't have Derek Jeter's name, but everybody says Derek Jeter is a class act, and Adrian is right up there. He's a hard worker. He's great in the community. He tries to help out the Hispanic community — but not just the Hispanic community, every community. He runs a lot of fundraisers. The community will love him."
The trade has to be completed by 10:30 a.m. Pacific time Sunday, which is 48 hours after the Dodgers were awarded a waiver claim on Gonzalez. But the deal is expected to be finalized before then, perhaps as early as Saturday morning.
There are minor issues to be resolved.
Crawford and Beckett have to approve the deal, which they are expected to do. Crawford can block a trade to the Dodgers, who are one of the teams listed on his limited no-trade clause. Beckett has more than 10 years of major league service time, including the last five with the same team, meaning he can veto any move.
Also, because the Red Sox are sending about $10million to the Dodgers, the deal must be approved by the commissioner's office.
The framework was in place even before the Red Sox placed Gonzalez on trade waivers Wednesday.
A four-time All-Star first baseman, Gonzalez was the prize in the deal. The Dodgers inquired about him leading up to the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline and approached the Red Sox again after a failed attempt to land Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau last week.
Although Gonzalez is owed $127 million over the next six seasons, the Red Sox wanted the Dodgers to do more than unburden them of his contract. The Red Sox also demanded they take the bloated contracts of outfielder Crawford and starting pitcher Beckett. Out of contention, he Red Sox were looking to get under the luxury tax threshold and improve their team for future seasons.
Crawford, who has endured two injury-plagued seasons in Boston, is owed $102.5 million from 2013-2017. The controversial Beckett, who has a 5.23 earned-run average, will earn $15.75 million in both 2013 and 2014.
Crawford and Punto cleared waivers earlier in the month, which allowed the Red Sox to trade them to any team.
But for the Dodgers to acquire Gonzalez and Beckett, they would have to be awarded waiver claims on them. For that to happen, every team in the American League and every team in the National League with a record worse than theirs would have to pass on them.
Beckett was a sure bet to reach the Dodgers on waivers. His performance, coupled with his contract, made him undesirable.
There was one small complication. De La Rosa was claimed by a team other than the Red Sox, believed to be the Toronto Blue Jays. The Dodgers withdrew De La Rosa from waivers and sent him to double-A Chattanooga (Tenn.). De La Rosa will be sent to the Red Sox after the season.