Potential blockbuster sends shockwaves through MLB

Potential blockbuster sends shockwaves through MLB

Potential blockbuster sends shockwaves through MLB
The Rays aren't battling the Red Sox for playoff position down the stretch this season, sitting 10 games ahead of Boston after Friday's action.

But the teams will face off six more times in September, a fact that had Tampa Bay reacting with approval to its division rival's reported blockbuster trade. Pitcher James Shields was one of those who took a measure of relief in the pending nine-player deal, which would send pitcher Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and infielder Nick Punto to the Dodgers.

"Anytime we don't have to face those guys, I'm good with it," Shields said. "They're pretty good hitters. I mean, it's kind of crazy that those three big guys go in one deal. But I'm not too worried about what they're doing."

Different divisions can make for different perspectives. But the no-worries theme carried over to the NL West, where the Dodgers could be on the verge of adding significant reinforcements as they try to track down the rival Giants.

"We're hearing the news," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said before his team took the field with a three-game lead on Friday night. "It's like I always say: You can't be worried about things you can't control. We can control what we do here, which is to go out and win every game. I don't know what's going to happen there, and it really shouldn't matter to us.

"We have the talent here; it's doesn't matter what the other clubs do."

For Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, the deal serves as a reminder of what life is like in the Major Leagues when expectations aren't met.

"It's interesting. It just shows that it's an all-result business, and the Red Sox aren't used to not making the playoffs," Teixeira said. "You have three really good players that might be on the move and I guess it's all null if it doesn't happen. But if you're not winning, you've got to find something else to mix it up."

Teixeira has been traded during the season twice in his career and said that as a free agent, he picked the Yankees over the Red Sox partly because only New York offered a full no-trade clause.

"I was in a different situation where I was about to be a free agent anyway and I was kind of a hired gun for two stretch runs," said Teixeira, who was sent to the Braves in 2007 and the Angels in 2008. "It's a little different for me. It's flattering, it actually is, because the team wants you to help them make the playoffs or make a run in the playoffs."

Besides providing a leap into the playoff chase, the trade could be beneficial for the potential new Dodgers. Rays pitcher J.P. Howell believes Los Angeles would "hands down" be a good fit for Crawford, who left Tampa Bay to sign a seven-year contract with Boston before last season.

"Nothing against Boston, but just knowing C.C., I thought he would have been a great fit out there anyways," Howell said of his longtime former teammate. "But contract things happen, you have to go where you have to go. A guy like that will fit right in in Los Angeles."

Howell also expressed respect for the aggressive approach of the Dodgers' new ownership group, which includes former Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson.

At the same time, he didn't take Boston's participation as a sign that the Red Sox won't be competitive next season and beyond. After all, the trade would clear a lot of money from the team's budget.

"They're going to sign a lot of guys and have a lot of dough to give to some great free agents out there," Howell said. "They always fill their needs. For them, they're going to be fine. Unloading those guys, they're still going to be in the hunt."

But that's next year.

For now, one of the Rays' remaining opponents might have a little less firepower in its lineup. That would be just fine with manager Joe Maddon.

"We'd sure like to get some of those guys out of the American League East," he said, "but we'll see what happens."

Andrew Simon is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.