- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
- 0 Shares
BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was told moments before Friday's game against the Kansas City Royals to pull first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the starting lineup -- a clear indication that a blockbuster trade with the Dodgers might be in the works.
"He had already heard about it, so he was kind of telling me and he wasn't surprised," Valentine said. "I said, 'Did this happen?' and he said, 'No, but it might.' So I guess he knows what I know."
Meanwhile, Gonzalez's teammates knew it was a strong possibility the rumors were true and he might no longer be a member of the club.
The Red Sox beat the Royals 4-3 to snap a four-game losing skid, but afterward the talk in the clubhouse focused on the impending trade.
"I can't say too much about it because it hasn't really happened," said Red Sox veteran David Ortiz. "We'll see how it turns out."
Ortiz and Gonzalez are close friends and they spoke after the first baseman was scratched from the lineup.
"We talked for a little bit. He's shocked like we are a little bit," Ortiz said. "Adrian wants to be here, that's why he came here to help this ballclub win a World Series. He signed long-term like he did and getting to be out in the second year kind of surprises you, but we don't know what's going to be better for all of us -- the ballclub, the players -- and that's what they're trying to figure out."
If and when the deal is finalized, Ortiz believes the full effect won't be felt until next season, after general manager Ben Cherington has his new plan in place.
"It all depends what the situation of the team is," Ortiz said. "I'm pretty sure, right now the trade situations we are seeing in today's game, it seems like it works 50-50. The following year you will see the result if you were 50-50 or 75-25, but right now there's a lot of money involved in that and we've got our front office that makes the decision and try to do what is best for the ballclub.
"I think they're looking to put the ballclub in a better situation this year. I'm not saying we're going to be in a better situation without those players, but we're about to find out."
Ortiz, who returned to the lineup for the first time since he was placed on the DL with a right Achilles strain on July 17, was preparing for the game when he started to hear the rumors of a possible deal with the Dodgers.
"I heard about it today. There are always trade rumors floating around, but you don't see a big trade like that happening. Right now it's still a rumor," he said.
But when Gonzalez was scratched from the lineup, it became a little more realistic that he would no longer be a member of the Red Sox.
"That was one of the signs that I knew something was going down," Ortiz said. "When you're taken out of the lineup it's for protection, but there's nothing done, yet, and we've got to wait until tomorrow."
Red Sox starter Jon Lester was in the bullpen warming up for his outing and had no idea Gonzalez was removed from the lineup. When Lester was told, he said it was not a distraction because he had to focus on the task at hand.
"Not for me," he said. "I've got to worry about me, especially in that situation. I didn't really know Adrian was out of the lineup until I got out there. You just have to stay in your little tunnel with everything, especially around here, you've got just keep your head down, eyes in front of you and try to make pitches. That's all I can control.
"I can't really comment on it. Until it's actually done you can't predict the future and know how you're going to feel about it until it's actually done. If it does get done, we'll move forward. If it doesn't, we'll move forward from there. We'll wait and see where this thing goes."
After the game, Valentine still had no definitive answers on the possible deal.
"I just heard before the game to take Adrian out of the lineup just in case something happens," explained the manager. "I have no idea what this trade might be. I was only asked to take Adrian out of the lineup."
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said he had a hard time trying to figure out exactly what was going on, and was surprised by the volume of players and money involved in the possible transaction.
"It's a lot of talent, a lot of money, a lot of things," Pedroia said. "I don't really know the details so I don't really have anything for you. You build relationships with guys, you've been through a lot with them and that part's difficult."
Even for a rookie like catcher Ryan Lavarnway, he knows it's a business.
"I still don't think it's a done deal, but I definitely trust Ben and trust the front office that they're going to put together a team that's going to be competitive and they want the best for the future of this organization."
Information from ESPNBoston.com intern Bill Humphrey contributed to this report.
4hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com
6hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com
11hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com
2dESPN Stats & Information