Even Nick Punto?
The Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly on the verge of acquiring a substantial number of Boston Red Sox players ahead of MLB's wavier trade deadline (August 31 12 a.m. ET), as initially reported by Gordon Edes of ESPN.
In a move that would signal a rebuilding effort at Fenway and a serious championship push in Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers are reportedly negotiating to bring Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Punto to Los Angeles. That's 11 combined All-Star Game appearances.. and NICK PUNTO.
"I think something is happening, but I'm in a state of disbelief that it is," someone described as "a baseball source" told Edes on Friday.
On Friday, the Dodgers took the first steps to what is being described as a potential blockbuster trade. As first reported by Sean McAdam, the Dodgers claimed pitcher Josh Beckett on waivers. Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has also been claimed by the Dodgers, as first reported by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
Rather than let either player be outright claimed off waivers by the Dodgers, the Red Sox are aiming to negotiate a multiplayer blockbuster. Per Edes, such a deal would include outfielder Carl Crawford, who is on the disabled list after undergoing elbow surgery this week.
An unidentified source informs John Morosi of Fox Sports that the Red Sox would also receive prospects -- and not just salary relief -- in any deal. Dodgers first baseman James Loney has been scratched from the team's game on Friday night and is the marquee piece reportedly heading East. According to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, Dodgers prospects discussed include Allen Webster, Zach Lee, Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands.
"We can take on significant money," Dodgers Chairman Mark Walter told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday.
Just days later, his club is reportedly importing more than $270 million in future salaries from Boston. Is that significant? Is it a good move?
UPDATE 8/24 11:30 p.m. ET:
The teams have agreed in principle to a trade, according to Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Citing a major league source, Fox Sports reports that the Dodgers will ship Allen Webster, James Loney, Ivan DeJesus Jr., Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands up to Boston while Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto head to the West Coast.
CLICK HERE for more details on reported deal.
MORE FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS:
BOSTON — Boston's Adrian Gonzalez and the Dodgers' James Loney were scratched from their team's starting lineups Friday night as the clubs tried to finalize a major trade.
The Red Sox also were discussing sending pitcher Josh Beckett, left fielder Carl Crawford and infielder Nick Punto to Los Angeles, a baseball official informed of the discussions said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcements were made.
Gonzalez was removed from the Red Sox lineup minutes before a game against Kansas City, and Loney was pulled from Los Angeles' lineup against Miami.
Boston began the day seven games under .500 and with little or no postseason hopes. If the trade is completed, the Red Sox would be relieved of a huge salary burden, assuming the Dodgers pick up most of what is owed. Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett are due $261 million from 2013-18.
Gonzalez's deal calls for $127 million after this season: $21 million annually from 2013-16 and $21.5 million in each of the final two years. Crawford is due $102.5 million over five years: $20 million next year, $20.25 million in 2014, $20.5 million in 2015, $20.75 million in 2016 and $21 million in 2017. Beckett is owed $31.5 million: $15.75 million in each of the next two seasons.
The Red Sox have plummeted after being one of baseball's best teams for most of last season. They went 8-18 after their collapse began on Sept. 4 last year and they are 65-84 since the skid began.
Manager Terry Francona was let go after the season and Bobby Valentine was brought in, supposedly to exert more discipline in a clubhouse in which pitchers reportedly ate chicken and drank beer during games rather than stay in the dugout to cheer their teammates.
Valentine, in the first season of a two-year contract, has had a rocky relationship with some of his players. Team President Larry Lucchino has said he will finish this season and owner John Henry has voiced support for the manager.
Boston began the season with a payroll of $173.2 million, behind only the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.
The Red Sox paid luxury tax in each of the last two seasons. Baseball's new labor contract contains incentives for teams that get their luxury tax payroll – based on 40-man rosters, average annual values and including benefits – under $189 million by 2014.
Henry, Lucchino and co-owner Tom Werner and general manager Ben Cherington did not respond to emails seeking comment.