BOSTON On Saturday afternoon, several hours before the announcement making the blockbuster trade with the Dodgers official, the lockers inside the Red Sox clubhouse that had belonged to Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Nick Punto had already been claimed.
Crawfords locker now belongs to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, while Mauro Gomez has Gonzalezs. Clay Buchholzs name was above Becketts but that apparently was only temporary as Buchholz was being trumped by the more senior John Lackey. Puntos locker had the generic Boston Red Sox nameplate over it.
Such is the nature of baseball, even with a trade of this magnitude. Everyone moves on.
Nothing surprises me in this game, said Cody Ross. Its just Ive seen so much now its like another trade. But this isnt just a little trade. This is a blockbuster deal that will probably go down in the history as one of the biggest. But it still doesnt surprise me.
Still, a deal of this size and scope, one with the potential to transform both the immediate and long-term outlook for a team can be unsettling to those who are left behind.
"Weird, I guess, is a good word," said Ross of the vibe in the Sox clubhouse. "I come in and expect to see Punto here and he's gone. Gonzo walking around and Josh. Obviously Carl's recovering from Tommy John surgery but you're used to seeing these guys' faces throughout the year and all of a sudden they're gone. It just kind of gives you a weird feeling. But we'll get over it. We have a game tonight we have to worry about."
With the Dodgers taking nearly 260 million in payroll obligation from the Red Sox, the deal gives the Sox something that had desperately been lacking for several seasons payroll and roster flexibility. This gives them an opportunity to reformulate the roster. Just one player, first baseman James Loney, will be joining the major league team, while the other four will be assigned in the minors. Loney, though, can be a free agent at the end of the season. The Sox will have several holes to fill this offseason and will now have some money to fill those holes.
Im definitely anxious to see what theyre going to do, Buchholz said. Everybody wants to win. Especially being here. Its a tough place to lose. Its tough to come here every day and feel like the clubhouse is down. I think thats anywhere but here in particular, its a place thats bred on winning and when were not doing that you know its a little tough.
The deal also has the capability of transforming the team off the field. For almost a full calendar year now, the Sox have been at the center of what has seemed like one unsavory story after another. From last Septembers historic collapse, the chicken-and-beer fiasco along with several other unseemly stories that emerged in the immediate aftermath of last season, to more recently with reports of players going to ownership to air complaints, and earlier this week when just four players attended the funeral of the beloved Johnny Pesky, the ugly news never seemed to stop.
Something had to change.
It was necessary, said manager Bobby Valentine. Just didnt seem like it mixed as well as it should.
It has nothing to do with the individuals that were in the trade.
Theres always a simple answer to fixing broken chemistry.
The culture will feel better when we start winning more games, Cherington said. This was about creating an opportunity to build a better team moving forward. It was not a trade that was made to try to fix a cultural problem. It was about opportunity, giving us opportunity moving forward and the culture will feel very good when we do the things that have made us good over time, the things that help us win games. So when we do those things the culture will feel good.