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Friday, August 23, 2013
Dodgers, Red Sox both gain from swap

By Justin Havens & Katie Sharp, ESPN Stats & Info

AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillAdrian Gonzalez (center) and Nick Punto (left) have helped the Dodgers get to their current position.
On August 25, 2012, the Dodgers and Red Sox completed a 9-player deal which sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto to Los Angeles for James Loney and four minor leaguers.

Entering 2013, Gonzalez had $127 million remaining on his contract and Crawford had $102.5 million remaining. This was the first time in MLB history in which two players were involved in a trade with $100 million remaining on their contracts.

The Red Sox are 84-80 since the deal, the Dodgers 91-70, with each in playoff position at the moment.

Let’s take a look at some of the other statistical aspects of the trade, a year later.

The financial impact
The Dodgers had a 2013 Opening Day payroll of $216.6M, the second-highest in MLB behind the Yankees ($228.8M). That was a significant increase from their 2012 Opening Day Payroll of $95.1M, which was 12th-highest in MLB.

The $121.5 million opening day payroll increase was easily the largest in baseball between the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Next on the list is the Toronto Blue Jays, who increased their payroll by $42 million.

There’s still quite a bit of money left over on the contracts of the players the Dodgers acquired. Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett will be owed a combined $213 million after the 2013 season ends.

With those savings, the Red Sox were able to re-load in the offseason, spending more than $125M on impact free agents such as Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Ryan Dempster, David Ortiz, Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew, David Ross and Koji Uehara.

Victorino's 4.4 WAR this season is better than any of the players sent to the Dodgers in this trade.

The star: Adrian Gonzalez
Of the five major-leaguers involved in the trade, Gonzalez has been the most valuable for his team this year, with 3.3 Wins Above Replacement.

Gonzalez’s value has come in the form of big hits. He has six game-tying or go-ahead hits in the seventh inning or later, the most of anyone on the team.

Gonzalez rates fourth in the majors and second in the National League in Win Probability Added, a stat that sums the value of every plate appearance (and stolen base/caught stealing, based on how much it adds to that team’s chance of winning). The only players who rate higher than Gonzalez are Chris Davis, Miguel Cabrera and Paul Goldschmidt.

Though Gonzalez has provided value, his power numbers are still not to the level that they were from 2009 to 2011. Gonzalez had a .536 slugging percentage and .231 isolated power (extra-bases per at-bat) over those three seasons. The last two seasons, those numbers are .460 and .162.

The surprise: Nick Punto
Both Crawford and Beckett have dealt with significant injuries that have been hindrances to their value. But another player has been a surprise contributor.

Punto has been worth 1.9 Wins Above Replacement for the Dodgers this season. If that holds up, it would be the third-highest single-season total of his 13-year career, his highest since posting a 2.4 WAR in 2008.

Punto’s value stems from that he can play a pair of positions adequately. He’s contributed five Defensive Runs Saved at both shortstop and third base, two spots where he’s had to fill in due to injuries.

Punto may not be an imposing hitter, but he’s an annoying one for pitchers to face. His 4.29 pitches per plate appearance rank tied for fourth in the majors, among those with at least 250 plate appearances this season.

In addition, in 13 games this month, Punto has a .475 on-base percentage (fifth in the NL among players with at least 30 plate appearances) and eight RBI.