Friday, August 25, 2017

Nick Punto, We Hardly Knew 'Ye—Uh, Actually, We Did!

Five years ago today, The Great Nick Punto Trade went down. In the midst of a horrific season under the "leadership" of Bobby Valentine, the Red Sox unloaded player and financial baggage on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gone—in one fell-swoop—was the 'Chicken And Beer Era', with Punto, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Adrian Gonzalez headed west. But more importantly, Boston shed $250 million of dead contract weight and gained two young pitching prospects (Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster). While De La Rosa and Webster did not work out—they were magically turned into Roenis Elias and (more importantly) Carson Smith. Both teams profited from the deal in the short and long-term. Boston, after all, won the 2013 World Series and remain a competitive franchise. And, barring a collapse bigger than Boston's in 2011, the Dodgers are about to win their fifth straight division title ('13, '14, '15, '16, '17). The much-maligned Sox GM at the time, Ben Cherington, summed up the "devil-may-care" attitude that spawned the mega-deal thusly, "We sucked at the time." Indeed.