Friday afternoon, news broke that the Red Sox and the Dodgers were working on a blockbuster trade - the type of trade you might see before the non-waiver trade deadline, but not one you would normally see after. In fact, the only reason a proposed trade involving Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford went through is because the Dodgers are about the only team willing to take on the salary. Those three players alone will be paid $56.75 million dollars next season, so when Josh Beckett cleared waivers and when Adrian Gonzalez was claimed, it came as no surprise the Dodgers were the ones interested.
Since the new ownership group has taken over, the Dodgers have had no issue in spending their money. They have been motivated to win and win now. This deal between the Dodgers and the Red Sox means that in one month, the Dodgers have taken on payroll in excess of what Frank McCourt had paid to buy the team back in 2004. But perhaps the most interesting part of this deal was Los Angeles' willingness to take Carl Crawford.
Crawford just underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery last Thursday. While the surgery went well and the recovery time is expected to be just six months, no one knows how Crawford will be affected when he returns. He was making strides in the limited action he saw this season toward getting back to the player the Red Sox thought they had acquired, but it will take a lot to wash away the taste of his horrid 2011 campaign. And as I mentioned before, the Dodgers want to win now. Crawford cannot help them do so. Adrian Gonzalez's inclusion and Nick Punto's inclusion in the deal may have been the sweeteners necessary for the Red Sox to be able to dump Crawford on the Dodgers, but it's always interesting to see a player traded while on the disabled list.
I got to wondering about players who were traded while on the disabled list. What I found, is that it's so uncommon, I was only able to come up with one name immediately:
Peavy was traded by the San Diego Padres to the Chicago White Sox on July 31, 2009. He had rejected a trade to the White Sox earlier in the year by invoking his no-trade clause, but eventually gave in and allowed the Padres to ship him to Chicago's Southside. The only issue was, he was hurt. Peavy had been on the DL since June 13th of that year with a strained tendon in his ankle.
Peavy did not make his Chicago debut until September 19th against the Kansas City Royals. He made three starts for the White Sox that year and posted a 1.37 ERA. The White Sox did not make the postseason as both Peavy and the team had envisioned when the trade was consummated. Then, things got worse.
In July of 2010, Peavy was pitching when his entire latissimus dorsi muscle detached from the bone. The muscle is the largest and most powerful in the back - and a necessary one for pitching. Peavy's season was over, and some thought his career would be done. The blow would have been enormous to the White Sox who had recently made Peavy the highest-paid player on the team with a 3-year, $52 million deal.
The surgery Peavy had was essentially experimental as no baseball player in history was known to have had this injury. Whether he could return to the game was unknown. But he did. In 2011, Peavy started 18 games and posted a 4.92 ERA. Not quite the type of numbers the White Sox hoped they would get out of the 2007 Cy Young award winner, but considering what he went through, at least he was pitching at all. This season, Peavy has been closer to his vintage self. In 25 starts, he's posted a 3.09 ERA.
The trade was a risky one because of the original ankle injury, but the White Sox could not have predicted the back injury. It's hard to fault them for picking up Peavy while he was on the DL.
After some further research more names popped up. Erik Bedard and Jordan Schaefer are lesser known names to have been traded while on the disabled list. But to my knowledge and through my research, Peavy's is the most famous. Until now, possibly.
Carl Crawford is resting a surgically repaired elbow, but we know he gave the OK for the trade to go forward. His no-trade clause was limited, but included the Dodgers. He has waived the right to veto this trade, thus allowing the other pieces to fall into place. So, now just as Crawford was becoming intimately knowledgable about the Red Sox medical staff, he will have to head west, be examined by Dodgers doctors and trainers, and eventually prepare himself for spring training in the Cactus League as opposed to the Grapefruit League.
There was no final at-bat for Crawford. No fond farewell from knowledgeable fans aware of his impending trade. No, Crawford is a far cry from Kevin Youkilis who was almost universally loved in Boston despite his struggles leading up to his trade to Chicago. Crawford has the unfortunate distinction of being nothing more than a stock purchased high and sold low. A failed investment by the Red Sox front office. Lucky for him, baseball is a forging game. Production in Los Angeles will erase all the negative equity he has built up, allow him to flip his upside down mortgage of a season (or two) and help the Dodgers make a profit on his performance.
But for now, Crawford sits and waits. An injured player between jobs. He's not quite on the Dodgers roster, and he's being forgotten in Boston as soon as possible. Unlike Jake Peavy who was able to start the same year as his DL trade occurred, Crawford will have to wait for 2013.
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