Magic Johnson on Dodgers’ big trade: ‘We want to win now’
Dodgers management praised the team’s historic multiple-player trade Saturday and the club’s key acquisition, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, was in the starting lineup for the game against the Miami Marlins at Dodger Stadium.
“This is an exciting day,” Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson told a news conference before the game. “We did this for our fans. We feel, of course, we want to win now.”
Besides Gonzalez, the Dodgers acquired starting pitcher Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford and utility fielder Nick Punto.
The Red Sox obtained first baseman James Loney and four prospects in exchange. The nine-player deal was the largest in Los Angeles Dodgers’ history, the team said.
In striking the deal, Guggenheim Baseball Management -- the ownership group that bought the Dodgers in May -- is picking up player salaries totaling about $260 million.
“We understand that you have to spend money to be good in this league, and we understood that before we bought the team,” Johnson said.
Gonzalez, who is batting .300 with 15 home runs, is the most appealing player in the trade for the Dodgers. But Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said Becket’s arrival also was key, especially after starting pitcher Chad Billingsley came out of Friday night’s game with a sore elbow.
“As you look at our starting rotation, you can’t tell me we don’t need Josh Beckett,” Colletti said, adding that Punto would help replace injured Jerry Hairston Jr., another utility fielder for the Dodgers.
Crawford had season-ending elbow surgery earlier this week, and Colletti said it would be between seven and nine months before Crawford would be able to play again.
Colletti, noting that the Dodgers had acquired nine players in the last month, also acknowledged that he had much more financial latitude to make trades and otherwise obtain players than he did with the team’s previous owner, Frank McCourt.
“It’s a different place,” where new ownership is “allowing us to go out and make this team better,” Colletti said.
Meanwhile, some of the players went to Twitter to post their reaction to the blockbuster deal.
Gonzalez first tweeted, “Thanks to Red Sox nation for everything. You guys are great!” Then, the San Diego native sent a tweet that said, “Excited to get back to Cali and be a part of Dodgertown!”
And Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp reacted to the trade with just one word on Twitter: "#wow.”
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