Why I’m hearing ‘Pedro-Delino’ in ‘Rubby-Adrian’

Adrian Gonzalez is just what the doctor ordered for the Dodgers, but at what cost?

* * *

Rubby De La Rosa has been optioned to the minors, enabling him to be traded as a player to be named later in the offseason.

James Loney was listed in the Dodger starting lineup tonight, then scratched. Adrian Gonzales has been scratched by Boston.

It’s happening. The blockbuster trade has the momentum of a Boston-to-Los Angeles freight train. From Gordon Edes of ESPN.com:

The Dodgers and Red Sox are closing in on a deal that would send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles, though a few hurdles remain before it’s official, multiple baseball sources said Friday.

Pitcher Rubby De La Rosa will be headed back to Boston as the centerpiece of the deal, sources say. De La Rosa made his first major league appearance of the season Wednesday, having had Tommy John surgery about 13 months ago. Also included are first baseman James Loney and prospects Ivan De Jesus (infielder) and Jerry Sands (outfielder), according to sources, plus another top prospect that is still unknown. …

I understand the impulse to go for it — I want that World Series too — because I know how much Gonzalez might help the Dodgers. But losing De La Rosa is a huge one for me to swallow.

On Twitter, I’ve already gotten some amount of ridicule for daring to mention this trade in the same breath as the infamous Pedro Martinez-Delino DeShields trade from 1993. But I’m guessing most of those people doing so are using the benefit of hindsight.

Today, DeShields is held in contempt  by Dodger fans — he’s the historic equivalent of Juan Uribe or Andruw Jones as far as Dodger trade acquisitions go. But compare the following at the time of the transaction:

DeShields had also improved three consecutive seasons, from 1991-93. Gonzalez has started to decline over the past three consecutive seasons. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that DeShields, at the time of the transaction, was a more valuable player and had a brighter future than Gonzalez today.

As for De La Rosa … I’ll never forget the time I was in the Dodger dugout, interviewing Orel Hershiser before the 2011 season opener, and heard a key member of the Dodger staff compare De La Rosa to Martinez. It was the first time I heard the comparison — though not the last. De La Rosa’s arm is electric.

At the time of the 1993 trade, Martinez had already logged 115 innings of major-league ball (almost entirely in relief) at age 22 with a 2.58 ERA and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings, which puts him ahead compared to De La Rosa, who has just now recovered from Tommy John surgery. But make no mistake — there were concerns about Martinez’s health too, to the point that Dr. Frank Jobe was concerned he would break down. As high as we were on him, we didn’t know Martinez was going to become a legend any more than we know what De La Rosa’s ultimate journey will be. And I can tell you for a fact that plenty were thrilled about DeShields coming to Los Angeles.

The chances of De La Rosa becoming one of the greatest pitchers of all time might be slim, but De La Rosa doesn’t have to become the second Pedro to represent a major loss for the Dodgers. He could just be really good, while Gonzalez apes DeShields’ decline.

Like I said, I’m hungry for a World Series title, and I’m not saying the risk of trading De La Rosa won’t be worth it. Don’t misunderstand me: The Dodgers need a player like Gonzalez, who boosts them at their weakest position. I even believe that a move back to his Southern California roots and away from the Red Sox maelstrom could revitalize him.

All I’m saying is, short of Clayton Kershaw, the trade of any other pitcher besides De La Rosa would have left me more comfortable.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t like it! We are taking too much money and losing too much in prospects..This is too big of a risk. I’m scared

  • http://twitter.com/madbeatboy Rob Carnachan

    I was thinking the same thing, but let’s remember that Pedro was far more accomplished at the big league level when he was traded than De la Rosa is.  That said, anytime a deal (or potential deal) is compared to the Pedro-Delino deal, I’m very nervous.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       ”Far more accomplished?” He had pitched 115 innings.

      • Anonymous

        I agree with tink, and Mike Petriello of MSTI concurs. I recall seeing Pedro at Candlestick pitching to Matt Wms with the winning run on third and one out. Pedro knocked him down on 0-2, then fanned him bailing out on a slider away. Yes, I know that’s anecdotal, but it impressed me no end.

    • Anonymous

      Pedro had 3 starts when traded, Rubby has 10
      Pedro 67 appearances, 115 innings; Rubby 14 appearances 60 1/3 innings
      Pedro was I think “far more accomplished” because he had much more work in the minors but that’s not what you said.

  • Anonymous

    Greetings from New England;
    Are you Dodgerlanders hearing about a huge blockbuster trade, in which your team gets Beckett and Crawford, too? Or just A-Gon for Loney + prospects?

    • Anonymous

      We all follow MLBTR.com which is reporting 4 BoSox for 5 Dodgers.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      Read the post above.  The blockbuster.

  • http://twitter.com/wdevil67 Scott Griffee

    Gonzalez hit .338 last year with 37 HR, 45 2B, and 213 hits.  Decline?

    • Anonymous

      I think you mean 27 HR. But you’re right, last year was his best season so far. I don’t agree with Jon’s statement about three consecutive seasons of decline.

      • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

         If you account for Petco vs. Fenway, I think the decline is there.

        • Anonymous

          Even with a .338 average?  I sure don’t!

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Well, yeah. He’s not gonna do that in Los Angeles.

      Again, I’m not saying he’s the second coming of Delino, but last I checked, we’re not acquiring the age-25-29 seasons of Gonzalez.

      • Anonymous

        Hey, it’s not like age 30 is an old man, in baseball terms.  Yes it’s acquiring his age 30-36 seasons, and those last couple of years may be not such a great deal, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect a dramatic decline the first 3-4 years.

        • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

           Andre Ethier thanks you :)

      • http://twitter.com/madbeatboy Rob Carnachan

        Not the average, but power?  Sure, why not?  Gonzo hit 40 HR playing in Petco and Petco is a heckuva lot harder of a park to hit HRs in than Dodger Stadium.  Not even close.

        • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

           Again, I’m pro-Gonzalez.  And 30 isn’t old.  But I don’t know why you’d expect him to match what he did at his peak.

  • Anonymous

    Agree 100%
    The DeShields link goes to Gonzalez as does the Gonzalez link

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       fixed

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MW2R2Q72LP22HKPEXB2ZZPHSZM dud dew

    Gonzalez MAY boost them.  His record coming down the stretch
    the last couple seasons would give one pause….to say nothing
    of clubhouse concerns.

    Delino, to those who were paying attention, had a weak head for the game.
    I thought he would not get better, while Pedro looked like he would be in
    a league of his own, much better than his very good brother ( I obviously
    did not have the inside medical knowledge that apparently confused the
    Dodger hierarchy – and medical confusion remains a hallmark of the
    organization thru Ned (see Jason Schmidt, about whom I made almost as
    much negative noise as I had when Andruw’s name first came up).

    I do not like what I am hearing about the scope of this deal….

    • Anonymous

      I have watched the new Dodger management and they seem way to sharp to give up prospects mentioned. (unless Boston was possibaly sucking in all the contract money?

  • Anonymous

    At least the Dodgers wouldn’t be stupid enough to give up Rubby and a guy like Webster Lee.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

      Spoke too soon, Morosi saying Webster could be that other top prospect. The deal has gotten less exciting as the more details have come out.

  • http://twitter.com/DodgerSims DodgerSims

    Seems like we could be headed for a large overpay if the rumored parameters of this trade hold true.

  • Anonymous

    More like Konerko for Jeff Shaw than Pedro for Delino.  Adrian Gonzalez is a proven all-star.  Rubby is an unproven prospect coming back after shoulder surgery.  

    I still don’t like the trade, because it forces the Dodgers to find ways of getting Crawford and Beckett into their lineup or eat millions. For that reason alone, it’s more complex than Pedro for Delino.  However, I think we’ll all be ruing this one when Crawford puts up Gwynnesque numbers in 2014 and Beckett starts to remind us of Jason Schmidt.

    This team has gotten old in a hurry. 

    • Anonymous

      Just a few threads ago we were harping about our young talent. At least we still got the Lee kid.

  • Anonymous

    Looking at the players involved and their salaries, I think Loney, Sands, and DeJesus aren’t really a big deal.  Rubby is a huge loss.  Don’t know who that other prospect is.  On their side, AGon is a huge gain – expensive, but worth it.  Crawford may help the team but he’s way overpaid.  Beckett is a big expensive risk.  Punto is no big deal.

    If I look at the trade as Rubby for AGon, with everyone else as a throw-in with little to no value, it’s giving up a lot, getting a lot.

    • Anonymous

      Looks like Webster is the prospect.  That’s a huge loss too.

  • Anonymous


    The Dodgers have agreed to send Webster, De La Rosa, Loney, Sands, and De Jesus to the Red Sox, a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports”

    Oh man, I don’t know how I feel about this.

  • Anonymous

    This trade stinks of panic.

    • Anonymous

      I think it’s more of what Robin Williams said “Cocaine is God’s way of saying you’re making too much money.” than panic.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/S2FMRWVOWOCXLCJRAPDHV26KEA Yakface

    Honestly Rubby has more in common with Francisco LIriano then Pedro. If Boston is willing to get salary relief for a pitcher fresh off the DL, then go for it. Not getting GOnzo because of what Rubby might become is not the right move for this team at this time. What if Rubby goes the way of Lirano or has lingering issues and we blew a chance to solidify 1st base finally?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/S2FMRWVOWOCXLCJRAPDHV26KEA Yakface

      Than?

      • Anonymous

        you can edit here at DT

        • Anonymous

          In the Toaster days they actually used to argue about then/than.

          • Anonymous

            That was then.  :)

  • Anonymous

    Aside from Rubby (and perhaps Webster), the other guys the Dodgers are giving up are all Termell Sledge. 

    • Anonymous

      I seem to recall a Vin story about Trermel  Sledge, or maybe it was Btimmer.

      • Anonymous

        Terrmel Sledge, pride of Kennedy High. He was one of the first players in MLB to test positive for steroids. It was back when he was trying to make the 2004 Olympic team.

  • Anonymous

    What if we look at the bright side and Crawford (although not that great to begin with) and Beckett regain their form? That would be something. 

    • Anonymous

      I should say brighter side, since the deal is not that horrible to begin with.

  • Anonymous

    I think we will also regret losing Sands. But that’s the business of baseball.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve been a big believer in Sands, but his value was diminished by relatively poor performance at the MLB level, despite raking at AAA.  Also, now that we apparently have first base (AGon) and the outfield (Kemp, Ethier, Crawford, Puig) set for years, he’s blocked, so we don’t need him.  I hope he turns out to be a superstar in Boston.

    • Anonymous

      He’ll probably rake in Boston. Too bad the Dodgers lost faith in him. But Crawford will be great for us.

  • T.M. Brown

    I think the claims and concerns are completely valid, Jon, but I think in this particular instance with the weaknesses at 1B and the uncertainty at one OF spot (and Crawford is a continual injury risk, so maybe he doesn’t even replace a player next year) it’s a trade that made sense. It looks like a disaster if Rubby becomes even Pedro-lite but we’re trading a black box for a known commodity that is replacing a really terrible 1B, so on pure balance we’re positive. (Some choice Loney stats: ISO .097, BB 6.4%, wOBA .273, WAR 0.) 

    Also, this is considered a down year for Adrian who has had difficulties with the mad dog media in Boston and he’s already produced at nearly twice the clip Loney has. I’ll take a .300, 25 HR, above average 1B right now, even if he might stagnate at between 3 and 4 WAR from now on. We haven’t had a first baseman to cheer for since Karros. 

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, I think not landing Prince and then having Loney really stink this year increased the desperation for this sort of thing and upped the value of Gonzo in the eyes of Blue brass.  I also have no problem with the Gonzo-Rubby aspect of the trade.

  • Anonymous

    Well if we’re looking at value as market price, we are WAAAAAY overpaying.  No other team ahead of us in the waiver line was willing to take Gonzalez and his contract without giving up anything.  We’re basically paying him $55M and giving up our top prospect (s) as well.  Crawford’s contract is mush.  Do we even want Beckett in the rotation at any price?  All of the money and all of the prospects are for Gonzalez.  That’s multiples of his value to any other team.  Yikes.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Hey there, Branch …

      • T.M. Brown

        So this is an interesting argument that reminds me of when I was arguing in favor of the Knicks not re-resigning Lin (I’m a big Knicks fan) because his contract was extremely bottom heavy and would have cost the Knicks about $30m when you included the luxury tax. I was saying that the Dolans shelling out for Lin would have hamstrung us during future FA signings and that his value to the team was probably worth more in marketing than on the floor. 

        Well I talked to a lot of people and read a lot of articles and realized something: Why should I care about what the owner is spending on players? Do I have any personal stake in the Dolans spending $10m rather than $30m? Absolutely not. I want them to spend as much as humanly possible to get the best players especially since they recoup their investments many times over by being in such a large market. This is Los Angeles, the second largest media market in the country and the team is on the verge of making billions off of a TV deal. No one should be worried about the cost to the owners. 

        And I’m sorry if that sounded more indignant that I meant it. 

        • Anonymous

          T.M., I think you’re right in that it’s not really our money (and no, I don’t believe ticket prices are based on salary) so why should we care?  But I’ve ripped my Yankee fan friends for years and pointed out that there is no pride in winning when you have a payroll twice as high as #2.  You SHOULD win.  When you don’t it’s an embarrassment and when you do it’s just expected.  I think outspending your competitors by too much takes the fun out of it.  Like beating your 10 year old niece at basketball.  Who wants that trophy?

      • Anonymous

        Hey Jon.  I know I don’t say much but I’m here everyday reading!  This is the sort of news that you just gotta talk about.  This trade would mean as much (on many levels) as any move in Dodger history.  Not just the player movement, the fact that it signals a change into a different type of organization; the type where money is no object.  Don’t know how I feel about that.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT

  • Anonymous

    A couple of things about this (still in progress) trade:  Why do we get Punto? We have no use for him and already have a couple of his clones. I don’t think there is much money involved in his case. Is it a case of Boston just wanting to get rid of him, maybe he irritates Valentine. And the obverse: Why wasn’t Uribe included? Screw the money, we will pay his salary, just get him 3000 miles away from us. 
    Boston just has to be paying some of the money, we’re getting two really bloated contracts, yet giving up some pretty good players.
    Who do we drop from our roster, Loney obviously, but some others have to go too…

    • Anonymous

      Uribe’s value is zero.  We can release him at any time.  And I hope that time is soon.

      • Anonymous

        “Soon” is not soon enough.

  • Anonymous

    Gonzalez away 2012: 276/326/429
    home                      : 318/358/502

  • Anonymous

    Funny, I thought the same thing when I heard RDLR was possibly going to be traded – he reminds me of Pedro. And any deal is Pedroesque. I know, I say that now. But, Gonzalez is not Delino. It doesn’t mean Rubby is not Pedro, I think he is.

    The down side, besides gutting the farm of starting pitching potential, the Dodgers may still not win the NL West this year. It’s hard to believe a month of Gonzalez will make the difference, because, thing s just happen. I mean, they could add Babe Ruth, and still not win it this year.2013 is a different story however. 

    Having Crawford and Gonzalez next will be huge. My father-in-law is a huge Red Sox fan, I’m in New England, and he has been moaning about Crawford for the last two years – with good reason. I keep telling him that Crawford will turn it around, and I believe he will.

    If nothing more, it means Victorino will not be signed next year.

    Put me down in the like it column, but really, really, really, sorry to see Rubby go. Kersh, Rubby, Bills would have been really nice, now Beckett, not so much.

  • Blue-eyed Gal

    Drat. I want to keep putting my hands over my ears and singing LALALALA. 

    And I LIKE Gonzales. A lot. But the price!

    The Dodgers used to be a pitching team, and we’ve really struggled and scrapped for a 5-man rotation the past two years. We’ve needed hitters, but I think the pendulum is beginning to swing a little too far.

  • Anonymous

    Presuming the rumors are accurate, I am ambivalent about the loss of Rubby and Webster, but the Dodgers would become a powerhouse lineup.  The DFA and release of you-know-who would do much to overcome my ambivalence.

  • Anonymous

    De La Rosa is better than Zach Lee. Losing him AND paying a lot of money is way too risky

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JY5S6XVBPPYDIJZZPMC47DLPS4 Andrew

    I disagree that Delino was a more valuable player than Gonzalez at the time of their respective trades.  Pardon my ignorance of true batting average but Delino’s OPS+ of 116, 94, 115, 102 in Montreal had him as an average to slightly above average player.  Meanwhile, Gonzalez’s OPS+ has been at an elite level: 140, 162, 152, 153 and then 113.  Sure the 113 this season is worrisome but he’s been great in the second half after a slow start.  His line in the last 37 games is 338/378/593 for an OPS of 971.  He’s been back to his old self.  I just can’t see how Delino was a more valuable player or projected to be a more valuable player than the player Gonzalez is right now.  

    If Rubby turns into an ace, Gonzalez is good enough to offset the hurt.  Delino never had the type of ceiling to do that even if few thought Pedro had the durability to be an all-timer.