Red Sox Contemplating Cleaning House to Focus on Farm System, Rid Themselves of Bad Contracts

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Red Sox Contemplating Cleaning House to Focus on Farm System, Rid Themselves of Bad ContractsBOSTON — The proposed trade with the Dodgers has financial flexibility for the Red Sox written all over it.

Yes, Adrian Gonzalez is the polarizing figure in the deal. Many have wondered why the Red Sox are contemplating shipping away their most consistent hitter in the second half of the season.

Gonzalez's presence in the package could be attributed to one of two reasons — it could've been the sticking point in the Dodgers' willingness to take Josh Beckett's contract, or it could confirm the report of tension between Gonzalez and Bobby Valentine.

The former is the most likely option. Still, regardless of the intention, it also boils down to Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington's desire to shed the horrific contracts that have plagued Boston in free agency recently.

Since the Dodgers are willing to absorb Beckett and Crawford's lucrative deals, it would only be fair for the Red Sox to send Gonzalez to the Dodgers. Los Angeles could use his skills and Gonzalez's presence in the Latino community.

And by ridding themselves of nearly $261 million — the amount owed to Gonzalez, Beckett and Crawford — the Red Sox would have the cash to spend on free agents this winter, something they elected not to do this past offseason due to luxury tax concerns.

That means the Red Sox could make a run at free agent-to-be Josh Hamilton or work on signing Jacoby Ellsbury to a long-term deal.

Those might be unlikely outcomes, however, since Cherington has said he wants to build from within.

The trade would mark a major turning point in Red Sox history. No longer would the Red Sox have to tiptoe around Gonzalez and Crawford's expensive contracts or Beckett's perceived attitude problems.

Instead, Boston's baseball ops department can shift its focus to grooming players such as infielder Xander Bogaerts, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and pitcher Matt Barnes in the coming years.

The possible deal signifies the start of an exciting rebuilding project.

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