|Top Stories of 2012, No. 4: Red Sox complete blockbuster trade with Dodgers||12.30.12 at 9:12 am ET|
Over the final week of 2012, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. This entry in the countdown is No. 4: the Red Sox’ megatrade with Dodgers
Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: NHL lockout
No. 9: Wes Welker’s up-and-down year
No. 8: Bruins’ early playoff elimination
No. 7: Ray Allen’s departure from Celtics
No. 6: Tim Thomas’ political controversy and sabbatical
No. 5: Celtics’ Eastern Conference finals loss to Heat
It is one of the biggest trades the Red Sox have ever made. The late-August blockbuster deal that sent Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Dodgers will go down as a landmark moment for Sox ownership as it tries to rebuild a team that has won two World Series in the last decade.
In exchange, the Sox received first baseman James Loney and four prospects: pitchers Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. and outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands.
The moving of Beckett, Gonzalez, Crawford and Punto was a major shift for the Sox, who in the past years had been locking players into long-term contracts. Together, those four players represent 11 All-Star appearances, four Gold Gloves, three World Series rings, one World Series MVP, one LCS MVP and one All-Star MVP.
The Sox, with that trade, started the reconstruction of a team which had fallen short of expectations beginning with an epic collapse in September 2011.
|LEEInks list: Best starts in Red Sox uniform over last half decade||06.11.11 at 12:39 pm ET|
Adrian Gonzalez is off to a scorching start in his first season in a Red Sox uniform. The powerful first baseman is leading the American League in RBI (57) and is also in the top 5 in batting average (.338) as of Saturday. If Gonzalez were to keep up that type of production for the remainder of the season, an American League MVP award could be in his future. But where would it rank among the greatest first seasons in Boston? To help answer that question, here’s a look at the top 10 first full individual seasons in a Red Sox uniform since 1961. (Apologies to Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx and Cy Young, each of whom could have earned spots on this list without the time restricition.)
10. Bill Mueller 2003, .326, 19 HR, 85 RBI
The former Red Sox third baseman is probably most remembered in Boston for his base hit that drove in Dave Roberts to send Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS into extra innings, but what a year he had in 2003. Signed as a free agent in the offseason, Mueller was expected to be a sure-handed third baseman who would do nothing more than just hold his own at the bottom of the Red Sox order. Instead, he exploded for career highs in not only average, home runs and RBI but also hits (171), runs (85) and doubles (45). His .326 average beat out Manny Ramirez (.325) and Derek Jeter (.324) by just points for his first and only batting crown.
9. Jonathan Papelbon 2006, 0.92 ERA, 35 saves, ROY runner-up
Before Papelbon made “Shipping up to Boston” a fixture of the Fenway Park experience, he was a starter-turned-reliever coming into the 2006 season that came in and took the closer spot from Keith Foulke. From there, the hard-throwing righty flourished in the role that he still holds to this day. He allowed earned runs in just six of his 59 appearances (68 1/3 innings) and also walked only 13 batters over that span. A shoulder injury kept him from pitching in September and may have kept him from securing the Rookie of the Year award (won instead by Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander), but the fact remains that Papelbon’s 2006 campaign may have been the best ever by a rookie closer. Read the rest of this entry »
|Report: Sides ‘increasingly pessimistic’ in Albert Pujols talks||02.05.11 at 3:24 pm ET|
According to FoxSports.com, which cited major league sources, participants in the negotiations between Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals on a long-term deal are “increasingly pessimistic” about the early shape of negotiations. Pujols signed a seven-year, $100 million deal with St. Louis prior to the 2004 season that included a $16 million option for 2011. The slugger has informed the Cardinals that he will not negotiate once spring training gets underway, meaning that there are roughly two weeks to go for the two sides to reach an extension.
According to the story, Pujols — a three-time National League MVP who was runner-up for the award in 2010 — seeks a deal that “likely would vault him ahead of Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who signed a 10-year, $275 million, free-agent deal at the same age.”
Though the Red Sox (Adrian Gonzalez) and Yankees (Mark Teixeira) both have players who are expected to occupy first base for them for years to come (Gonzalez is expected to sign an extension that would run through 2018, while Teixeira is under contract through 2016), the article suggests that the Cubs, Rangers and Angels could all bid heavily on Pujols, with the Mets and Dodgers looming as potential bidders for his services, depending on the resolution of the financial issues facing their current owners. Moreover, the article suggests, the Sox and Yankees “could get creative” and become involved in bidding on Pujols.
|WEEI.com’s Thing of the Year: How Twitter changed everything||12.30.10 at 1:29 pm ET|
Well, apparently enough to cause a shift in how the media, professional athletes and sports organizations go about their everyday business.
(For those counting, these last two sentences accounted for 147 characters without spaces.)
Twitter, the social media site that launched in 2006, has crept its way into the sports world and caused a massive explosion.
Beat reporters now have to keep their smart phones in the palm of their hands just in case breaking news needs to be reported to the masses. Front offices all over the country, and in every business sector for that matter, have had their ability to control the message of their respective organizations almost stripped away. Players can share what they ate for breakfast, what shoes they are wearing and what feelings they are feeling before and after games to millions of fans with a click of a button.
On a local scale, Shaquille O’Neal caused a mob to form in Harvard Square with a simple tweet. Kevin Garnett and Charlie Villanueva got into a he-said, he-said battle due to a tweet from the Villanueva camp.
Adrian Gonzalez was coming to the Red Sox. Then he wasn’t. Then he might be. Finally, after all the speculation and Twitter buzz, there he was on Yawkey Way donning a Red Sox home jersey.
And maybe the biggest Twitter story in New England history came on an accidental tweet by ESPN’s Bill Simmons about Randy Moss being traded to the Vikings. Now Randy Moss is so far off the grid that maybe even Twitter can’t find him. Well, that’s probably not true — that sentiment might only be for Titans quarterbacks.
These stories are just a minute percentage of the news that is being spread across Twitter on a daily basis. Whether it’s LeBron James or Tiger Woods tweeting about who knows what, or Colts owner Jim Irsay poking fun at Rex Ryan’s alleged foot fetish, things are happening on Twitter.
|Top stories of 2010, No. 4: Red Sox’ signings of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford||12.28.10 at 8:08 am ET|
For the final 10 days of 2010, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year. In what was a memorable 12 months for all four of Boston’s major professional teams, there was a plethora of compelling storylines. The countdown continues with No. 4: The Red Sox’ signings of free agents Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.
Check out our previous entries:
No. 10: Kevin Garnett’s return to form
No. 9: Patriots’ playoff meltdown vs. Ravens
No. 8: Marc Savard-Matt Cooke incident and aftermath
No. 7: Red Sox derailed by injuries
No. 6: Bruins’ playoff collapse vs. Flyers
No. 5: Patriots’ Randy Moss saga
Also, make sure to cast your vote in WEEI.com’s poll for the 2010 Boston Athlete of the Year.
For Red Sox fans, the first 11 months of the year provided few things to be thankful for. General manager Theo Epstein’s decision to focus on pitching and defense left the team with few positive results to show for it.
A third-place finish in a season affected by injuries left Red Sox fans in need of a free agency fix to bring hope for the 2011 season. After Victor Martinez was plucked away by the Tigers two days before Turkey Day, Red Sox fans sat at the Thanksgiving table struggling to find something to give thanks for.
Less than two weeks later, the holiday cheer came early, when two of the game’s stars donned Red Sox uniforms. Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez’ journeys to Yawkey Way left the Red Sox as the consensus free agency winners and new favorites in the American League East.
The Red Sox entered the offseason with plenty of options to build their 2011 roster. Many experts expected the team to make a run at one of the elite free agent left fielders in Crawford or Jayson Werth, but other potential moves were a huge question mark. Would the Red Sox re-sign middle of the lineup stalwarts Martinez and Adrian Beltre, attempt to trade for more pitching or finally pull the trigger on a deal for Gonzalez?
By late November things looked bleak. Martinez’ decision to take a four-year, $50 million deal with the Tigers left the club missing one of its only consistent bats in the middle of the order. In just over a year of games in a Red Sox uniform, Martinez posted hit .312 with 28 home runs and 120 RBIs. His loss also meant the Red Sox would rely on a combination of a young, unproven Jarrod Saltalamacchia and aging veteran Jason Varitek or another catcher to fill a slot in the weakened Red Sox lineup.
|Agent: Adrian Gonzalez will test market after 2011||11.04.10 at 10:04 pm ET|
John Boggs, the agent for Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, told The Associated Press that it is “pretty much a fait accompli” that his client will test the free agent market following the 2011 season. Earlier in the week, the Padres exercised a $6.2 million option on Gonzalez for the 2011 season, in what will be the final season of one of the most team-friendly contracts in baseball.
The 28-year-old turned in his third straight All-Star campaign in 2010, hitting .298/.393/.511/.904 with 31 homers and 101 RBI, helping to lead the Padres within one game of the San Francisco Giants in the NL West. According to The Associated Press, Padres GM Jed Hoyer said that San Diego would not be in a position to work out a multi-year deal with Gonzalez along the lines of either the eight-year, $180 million deal that Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees or the five-year, $125 million extension to which the Phillies signed Ryan Howard, starting in the 2012 season.
From the AP story:
Hoyer says the type of contract Gonzalez will seek in free agency is something that only a handful of markets can support, “and San Diego is not one of them.”
|Heyman: Jayson Werth rejected a Jason Bay-sized deal||at 2:05 am ET|
According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, free agent outfielder Jayson Werth rejected a contract offer from the Phillies this summer along the lines of the four-year, $66 million deal that Jason Bay signed with the Mets as a free agent last offseason. Heyman suggested that Bay will be seeking a deal more in line with the seven-year, $120 million contract inked by Matt Holliday with the Cardinals last winter.
The Red Sox are expected to be interested in Werth and outfielder Carl Crawford, considered the top prizes of this winter’s free agent class. Heyman suggested that the Sox might prefer Werth to Crawford, a reflection of Werth’s superior on-base and power numbers.
Of the possibility that the Padres might trade superstar first baseman Adrian Gonzalez this offseason, Heyman wrote, “In a word, no.”
|Padres pick up Adrian Gonzalez’ option for 2011||11.03.10 at 8:22 am ET|
The Padres picked up All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez‘ option for the 2011 season. Gonzalez is entering his eighth season and will make $5.5 million, with a possible $300,000 bonus if he makes another All-Star Game appearance.
The slugger finished 2010 with 31 homers and 101 RBIs, the fourth consecutive season in which he has finished with 30 or more home runs and 99 or more RBIs. Gonzalez also hit .298 and made his third consecutive All-Star Game appearance. He helped the Padres to a 90-72 finish, just a game behind the World Series champion Giants in the NL West.
This will be the last year the Padres have Gonzalez on a team-friendly contract, as the slugger is arbitration-eligible next winter.
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