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Dodgers claim Gonzalez, Beckett off waivers; blockbuster deal possibly looming

Jeff Passan
Yahoo Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers claimed Boston first baseman Adrian Gonzalez off waivers Friday and are interested on working toward a deal before a 1:30 p.m. ET deadline Sunday, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

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Adrian Gonzalez's $127 million contract is a bargain compared to the going rate of first basemen. (Getty Image …

The Dodgers also claimed Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, according to CSNNE.com, which could be the precursor to a blockbuster deal that would shake up both clubs.

Because of their financial flexibility and willingness to take on money, the Dodgers present a number of possibilities if the Red Sox indeed prove willing to part with the 30-year-old Gonzalez, who is in the first season of a seven-year, $154 million contract.

Boston is unlikely to let Gonzalez go in a straight waiver claim and would pull him back without a trade offer from the Dodgers, one source said. While it is not known what names of players or terms the teams have exchanged, multiple options exist to facilitate a deal.

The Dodgers have a handful of pitching prospects they held onto at the trade deadline, as well as after they unsuccessfully claimed Cliff Lee off waivers earlier this month.

A more interesting twist is Los Angeles' seemingly never-ending payroll spike under new ownership. Considering the recent contracts for star first basemen – Joey Votto's $250 million deal, Albert Pujols' $240 million pact and Prince Fielder's $214 million contract – Gonzalez's $127 million salary over the next six years isn't excessive for Los Angeles. Moreover, in lieu of giving up prospects, the Dodgers could propose to take on another of Boston's bloated salaries – the sort of sweetener no other team can afford.

[Related: Jeff Passan: 25 things you didn't know about baseball]

Case in point: The Dodgers claiming Beckett, who has two years and $31.5 million left on a deal that many executives figured untradeable because of his diminished stuff and mediocre performance. Beckett does have 10-and-5 rights that allow him to veto any deal.

In addition to the willingness to take on Lee's deal, the Dodgers facilitated a trade for Hanley Ramirez by eating his contract and did the same in the post-waivers acquisition of Joe Blanton.

Gonzalez is a perfect match for Los Angeles. He is from San Diego and would love a return to Southern California, where he spent five years of his career. Gonzalez aired his frustrations with Boston when a text message from his phone alerted Red Sox ownership to the team's dissatisfaction with manager Bobby Valentine.

Even though Gonzalez is putting up substandard numbers – .300/.343/.469 with 15 home runs – the Dodgers could use his offense. Following a series sweep by first-place San Francisco at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles sits three games back of the NL West lead and 1½ behind St. Louis for the second wild card.

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