BOSTON — Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez and the Dodgers’ James Loney were scratched from their team’s starting lineups Friday night as the clubs tried to finalize a major trade.
The Red Sox also were discussing sending pitcher Josh Beckett, left fielder Carl Crawford and infielder Nick Punto to Los Angeles, a baseball official informed of the discussions said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcements were made.
Boston began the day seven games under .500 and with little or no postseason hopes. If the trade is completed, the Red Sox would be relieved of a huge salary burden, assuming the Dodgers pick up most of what is owed. Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett are due $261 million from 2013-18.
Gonzalez’s deal calls for $127 million after this season: $21 million annually from 2013-16 and $21.5 million in each of the final two years. Crawford is due $102.5 million over five years: $20 million next year, $20.25 million in 2014, $20.5 million in 2015, $20.75 million in 2016 and $21 million in 2017. Beckett is owed $31.5 million: $15.75 million in each of the next two seasons.
The Red Sox have plummeted after being one of baseball’s best teams for most of last season. They went 8-18 after their collapse began on Sept. 4 last year and they are 65-84 since the skid began.
Manager Terry Francona was let go after the season and Bobby Valentine was brought in, supposedly to exert more discipline in a clubhouse in which pitchers reportedly ate chicken and drank beer during games rather than stay in the dugout to cheer their teammates.
Valentine, in the first season of a two-year contract, has had a rocky relationship with some of his players. Team President Larry Lucchino has said he will finish this season and owner John Henry has voiced support for the manager.
Boston began the season with a payroll of $173.2 million, behind only the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.
The Red Sox paid luxury tax in each of the last two seasons. Baseball’s new labor contract contains incentives for teams that get their luxury tax payroll — based on 40-man rosters, average annual values and including benefits — under $189 million by 2014.
Henry, Lucchino and co-owner Tom Werner and general manager Ben Cherington did not respond to emails seeking comment.
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