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Dodgers on a major spending spree

By Clark Spencer, The Miami Herald –

LOS ANGELES — Eight months after the Marlins went on a free agent spending free in hopes of improving the roster in sudden and dramatic fashion, the Dodgers opened their vault by completing a blockbuster deal with the Boston Red Sox.

By acquiring first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, starting pitcher Josh Beckett, outfielder Carl Crawford and infielder Nick Punto from the Red Sox for James Loney and prospects, the Dodgers absorbed $258 million in salary commitments.

The Marlins didn’t spend nearly that amount during their makeover last winter. But the idea is similar.

“God bless ‘em,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. “We spent a lot of money. We brought in a lot of names. And look at where we are right now. Hopefully, it’ll work for them. It didn’t work for us.”

As Guillen noted: “Money gets you better names. It doesn’t guarantee wins. This is not the NBA where you bring in two or three guys and you know you’re going to make it. Baseball is different. Baseball is 25 guys.”

The Dodgers have added nine new players to their roster since last month. Among the newcomers: former Marlins Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate, along with Shane Victorino, Brandon League and Joe Blanton.

Guillen said he likes the trade from both sides.

“I think it’s a great trade for the Dodgers because they think they can win,” he said. “God bless the Boston Red Sox GM (Ben Cherington) to make that go through. Money plus players? That’s a great trade for them. They can do a lot of things with the money, and they have a couple of players for the future.”

One of those prospects is pitcher Allen Webster, who was rated by Baseball America at the start of the year as the second-best prospect in the Dodgers’ farm system.

Third on that list was Nathan Eovaldi, the pitcher the Marlins acquired from the Dodgers in exchange for Ramirez and Choate. Eovaldi took the loss Friday.

According to a source, the Marlins asked about Webster when they were discussing the Ramirez deal, but the Dodgers refused to talk about him, and the Marlins eventually settled on Eovaldi.

Giancarlo Stanton hit his 83rd career homer in Friday’s loss. That tied him with Ted Williams for the 11th-most home runs hit before the age of 23. Mel Ott tops the list with 115 home runs hit before his 23rd birthday. Stanton then hit his seventh home run on the road trip in the second inning Saturday. That broke the Marlins record for most home runs on a road trip. Preston Wilson, Miguel Cabrera and Mike Lowell share the mark.

Rookie catcher Rob Brantly had a pair of hits Friday, including a double off the wall that just missed being a home run by a few feet. But Guillen said fans need to be patient with Brantly and to be prepared for mistakes.

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