Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, said the blockbuster trade sending Adrian Gonzalez, right-hander Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford and utility infielder Nick Punto the Dodgers for James Loney and four prospects was made after realizing the team was heading in the wrong direction.
After a disappointing four months of 2012, Cherington said he and management kept their nucleus intact during the trade deadline because "we wanted to give this group a little more time." He added that by the time the Dodgers claimed Gonzalez and Beckett on waivers - it was clear a deal was there to be made.
"It hasn't worked. It's on all of us," said Cherington. "I think we recognize that we are not who we want to be right now. And it's been a large enough sample performance going back to last year that we felt like in order to be the team that we want to be on the field, we needed to make more than cosmetic changes, so as we look forward to this offseason, we felt like the opportunity to build that we need, that the fans deserve that we want, required more of a bold move to give us an opportunity to really reshape the roster, reshape the team.
"It was a difficult thing to do, to trade away four players like this. Beckett in particular, been here for a long time, been part of our best times here, been on the mound for big games. Gonzalez and Crawford, both obviously key acquisitions two offseasons ago. And Punto a great teammate, utility player. So we gave up a lot of talent, good guys, excited the talent we've got coming back and excited about the opportunity this gives us to build the next great Red Sox team."
Despite the fact that the Sox cleared roughly $61 million from their 2012 payroll - and $266 million in long-term commitments - Cherington said that the intention of the moves was not to scale back, but instead to create additional financial flexibility in order to pursue a better roster going forward. However, he repeatedly emphasized that the team would remain "disciplined" in its decision-making.
"As we always do this time of year, we've started to look at opportunities in the offseason. I think the key is we are absolutely committed to building the best team we can in 2013 and beyond, and we're going to do that in the most disciplined way possible," said Cherington. "When we've been at our best, we've made good decisions, disciplined decisions. Found value, whether it's in the free agent market or trade market. And that's our job to do that. We have a core of players here, still, very talented core of players here still, that will be a part of our next great team, and we'll do whatever we can to put together the best team for 2013."