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Sports

August 24, 2013

One year after trade, Sox, Dodgers in first place

BOSTON — Don’t expect a sentimental reunion when Boston plays the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend and visits former Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and the injured Josh Beckett.

But don’t expect a lot of regrets, either.

Almost a year after the trade that sent the three high-priced and under-performing players — along with Nick Punto — to the Dodgers, both teams are in the playoff hunt and perfectly content with the Aug. 25, 2012, blockbuster.

For Los Angeles, the deal was the start of a TV revenue-fueled spending spree that formed the foundation of a contender. For the Red Sox, it was a clean break with the free agency extravagance that contributed to their unprecedented collapse in September of 2011, followed by a 2012 season that was the worst for the franchise in half a century.

As the Red Sox head to Los Angeles for a three-game series against the Dodgers, here are five things we’ve learned since the trade:

ADDITION BY SUBTRACTION: The Red Sox didn’t get much in terms of players in the deal — James Loney was the only established major leaguer coming to Boston, and he left after the season — but they were benefited by shedding salary: Beckett was due $31.5 million from 2013-14, Gonzalez had $127 million coming through 2018, and Crawford was due $102.5 million over five seasons. In all, the Red Sox saved more than a quarter of a billion dollars through ‘18.

SPEND IT WISELY: The Red Sox learned that a high payroll isn’t worth much if the money isn’t spent well. They appear to have done that this offseason, replacing the departed players with free agent outfielders Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes, first baseman Mike Napoli, and starter Ryan Dempster. Total cost for those players: about $36 million for this year and $80 million total.

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