Kevin Youkilis Discussions Were Origin of Red Sox’ Mega-Deal With Dodgers, Ben Cherington Says

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Kevin Youkilis Discussions Were Origin of Red Sox' Mega-Deal With Dodgers, Ben Cherington SaysBOSTON — The dialogue between the Red Sox and the Dodgers first started in June.

When the Red
Sox were shopping third baseman Kevin Youkilis, Los Angeles showed interest. General manager Ben Cherington shipped Youkilis to the
White Sox, but talks with Dodgers GM Ned Colletti continued.

"We've had a consistent
dialogue all year," Cherington said. "At different points that
dialogue picked up. We talked quite a bit before the deadline, didn't agree on
anything at that time. When you talk that much, you share ideas, you get to
know a little bit more of what their motivation is, what they're trying to
do."

The discussions were resurrected
last month
, according to the Boston Herald, when the Red Sox nearly traded Josh
Beckett
at the non-waiver trading deadline. But July 31 came and went without a
transaction between the two clubs.

Cherington, however, alluded
to conversations at the ownership level that reignited the interest. It likely
took place during the MLB owners meeting that occurred earlier this month in
Denver.

Before long, the talk snowballed
into intense discussions, leading the Dodgers to claim Adrian Gonzalez and Josh
Beckett
off waivers.

"Over time, and then
recently, earlier this week, those conversations kind of gelled into more firm
concepts, talking about what a trade might look like," Cherington said.
"We were able to pull it off. There wasn't one moment. It's a process that
started earlier in the year and involved a lot of conversations, a lot of ideas
going back and forth, and ultimately led to this."

It was a major coup for both
sides, one that hovered under the radar until the last minute.

But there was risk involved on
Boston's end. A year and a half after signing Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to
long-term deals, the Red Sox traded both players away. It's the type of treatment could
deter future free agents from signing with the Red Sox.

In an attempt to gain
financial flexibility and give the team a facelift, Cherington thought it was
worth the gamble.

"I feel like if we are
who we want to be, on the field, off the field, we will be a great place for
players to be," Cherington said. "I think this ownership group knows
more than most how quickly things can change. At the end of 2001, it wasn't a
great time in the Red Sox organization. And it was just a few months later
where everyone wanted to be in Boston.

"We get back to being the
team we want to be, and players are going to want to be here. This is still a
great place to play. The highs are really high when things are going well, and
when they're not, it can be tough. That's why it's so important for us to get
back to what we want to be, and then the highs will be really high again."

In the end, Youkilis was the
launching pad for the team's new direction.

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