Journeyman infielder Nick Punto may have been the least critical part of the most expensive August trade in Major League Baseball history.
But on Saturday morning, he delivered the most valuable bit of news via his Twitter account (@shredderpunto) when he posted the following photo along with the message “#dodgers doing it first class!”
First baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Josh Beckett and Punto — each pictured in the photo on a private plane headed to California — could be in Los Angeles as early as tonight. The Dodgers host the Miami Marlins at 6 p.m.
And with that, there was no turning back. Punto’s 10,000-plus followers knew what the Dodger faithful had been anticipating for the last 24 hours: The Dodgers were getting Punto, Gonzalez, Beckett and outfielder Carl Crawford from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for first baseman James Loney and minor-leaguers Jerry Sands, Rubby De La Rosa, Ivan De Jesus Jr. and Allen Webster.
For the Dodgers, expensive acquisitions have become routine since Guggenheim Baseball Management was awarded ownership of the team in April. They agreed to pay the remainder of Hanley Ramirez’s contract (north of $31 million), which runs through 2014, when they acquired the shortstop from the Marlins. They extended Andre Ethier’s contract through 2017 for a total of $85 million.
More recently, they took on the expiring contracts of Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton from the Phillies. Even the players in the room didn’t think the Dodgers were done dealing then.
Now, they own the contracts of Gonzalez (under contract through 2018), Crawford (2017) and Beckett (2014) –worth a combined $262.5 million, according to ESPN Stats & Info. According to multiple reports, the Dodgers will receive $12 million to offset the cost of the contracts they are inheriting.