August 27, 2012
The Priciest Trade Ever Made
On Saturday, the baseball world saw what it often likes to see in a true blockbuster trade. There may be regrets when all is said and done, but for now, the sides each got what they were looking for. The Red Sox, who had the league’s third-highest Opening Day payroll ($175,249,119), got little aside from salary relief in the deal ; the owners of the Dodgers, who on May 1 closed a $2.15 billion sale, were looking to not only make the playoffs but run clean through to a World Series championship.
As we covered on Saturday here at BP, the nine player deal had the Red Sox trading right-hander Josh Beckett, left fielder Carl Crawford, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, infielder Nick Punto, and reportedly $12 million cash considerations to the Los Angeles Dodgers for first baseman James Loney, infielder Ivan DeJesus, Jr., right hander Allen Webster, and two players to be named later. Those two players are rumored to be Rubby de la Rosa and Jerry Sands.
How big is the deal in the annals of Red Sox, Dodgers, and MLB history? Well, let’s put it this way: it redefines the word “blockbuster.” In terms of money, it is the largest sum of contract dollars moved in a trade. Ever. The Red Sox are moving a total of $262.5 million off the books—a staggering sum. Additionally, no trade has ever involved two players who each had more than $100 million remaining on their contracts (Gonzalez and Crawford). The only other trade in which a player was traded with at least $100 million left on his contract was when Alex Rodriguez was traded from the Rangers to the Yankees in February of 2004.
In terms of the number of players involved, it’s the most in Dodger history, and it ties as the second-most in Red Sox history. Here is a list of deals for Boston that included nine-plus players prior to Saturday’s blockbuster:
It’s not the number of players, however, that everyone is talking about; it’s the mind-numbing, head-spinning amount of money. As I outlined when the Dodgers sale took place, the club is about to land on a mountain of television revenue. At the time, I projected between $4 and $5 billion over 20 years. To put that in comparison, the Angels and Rangers deals that were recently brokered are each worth $3 billion over 20 years, and look what that brought to those teams (see Albert Pujols, Yu Darvish, et al).
This trade was not some spur of the moment thing. Apparently, the Dodgers had been wooing the Red Sox for some time. It wasn’t until the Dodgers said they’d take Carl Crawford on that it got serious.