FLEXIBILITY: Thanks to the salary dump, the Red Sox payroll dropped from about $173 million to about $150 million this season, giving the team the flexibility to add free agents but also allowing it to acquire right-hander Jake Peavy at this year’s trade deadline. Peavy could be a key down the stretch; so far, Boston is 1-3 in games he has started but two of the losses were by scores of 3-2 and 2-1. He has had only one bad start.
BE PATIENT: To start, it was a trade that hurt both teams. The Red Sox continued their descent to the bottom of the AL East, and manager Bobby Valentine was fired. And it didn’t exactly do wonders for the Dodgers, who were 11 games above .500 when the players arrived on Aug. 26 and finished the year with 10 more wins than losses, eight games back in the NL West and two games behind the second wild-card team. But this season they are both leading their division heading into the weekend series — the Dodgers by a whopping 9½ games.
THE FUTURE: This was expected to be a year for the Red Sox to regain their footing under new manager John Farrell. But they have already surpassed last year’s total of 69 wins and, tied with the Dodgers for the second-most wins in all of baseball, look to be a threat this postseason. That is a bonus that obscures the true benefit of the trade: They are committed to just over $100 million for next season, and have an opportunity to be big players in the free agent market for years to come.
Assuming, that is, that they spend their money wisely.