Two thoughts about the Red Sox / Dodgers mega trade keep bugging me so I thought I'd write them out for all to see so that I can move on to other things. First off - was this really the huge financial investment that everyone says it was for the Dodgers?
Everyone knows that the Dodgers had to make a big splash this off-season and also that 1st base was their biggest need. Adrian Gonzalez clearly is better than any free agent available this off-season not named Josh Hamilton. And it should be noted that Adrian Gonzalez is much more of a sure thing health-wise than Hamilton. If Gonzalez was a free agent then he'd easily get 6-years at $25 million per year. If you look at it that way - Gonzalez's remaining 6-year $127 million contract actually could be considered a savings of $23 million over the minimum Gonzalez would have cost them on the open market (just look at Prince Fielder's contract to see that I'm actually be pretty conservative).
The Dodgers would have also needed to tap into free agency for a starter. Who could they have signed? Ryan Dempster who is 35-years old and who last year had a 4.80 ERA in the NL? The same Ryan Dempster who didn't want to come to Los Angeles at the trade deadline? If the Dodgers signed Josh Becket as a free agent he would have cost at least 2-years at $8 million per year (at the very least). So looking at it this way - Beckett's real cost to the Dodgers would be $15.5 million over 2-years. But don't forget - the Red Sox also sent $12 million in the deal. Let's apply that to Beckett and say that his real cost to the Dodgers then comes down to just $3.5 million.
That just leaves Carl Crawford and his remaining 5-year $108.5 million contract. Just to net everything out - lets subtract the $23 million they are "saving" on Gonzalez and add the $3.5 million Beckett is costing them. That puts Crawford's overall cost to the Dodgers at $89 million over 5-years. A contract size which should sound fairly familiar to Dodger fans.
Let's now make a player comparison:
Player A - .291 BA/ .363 OBP/ .477 SLG/ 19 HR/ 271 TB
Player B - .292 BA/ . 332 OBP/ .441 SLG/ 14 HR/ 288 TB
Those are the 162 game averages according to Baseball-Reference.com for Andre Ethier (Player A) and Carl Crawford (Player B). Ethier is the same player the Dodgers just gave an extension to. That contract was for $85 million over 5-years. Almost the exact same amount that we arrived at above.
What do I make of all this? Well if I was the Dodgers I could have crunched the numbers and justified adding Carl Crawford to the deal by saying they were getting a player who was basically the equal to Andre Ethier but who hits fewer HR but who steals a lot of bases (something the team could really use).
Another possibility? Maybe Ethier will be one of the PTBNL. I know - I know. It sounds crazy but like I said - I couldn't get the possibility out of my head and I felt I had to get it in writing. If you think of it - if Ethier was sent to Boston then all the comments of how can the Dodgers swallow these contracts would pretty much be negated. Also - Ethier would be a very welcome addition to the Red Sox (Dustin Pedroia is one of his best friends). Ethier couldn't be traded now because A) he'd never make it through waivers and B: the Dodgers need him for the stretch run.
Maybe its a crazy thought but I just can't shake it.