Dodgers, Red Sox near blockbuster

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Post  Drunky McThuggerton on Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:52 pm

BOSTON -- The Dodgers and Red Sox are closing in on a deal to send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles, though a few hurdles remain before it's official, multiple baseball sources said Friday.

Giving up Gonzalez would be a shocking change of direction for the Red Sox, who in December 2010 traded two of their top prospects -- first baseman Anthony Rizzo and pitcher Casey Kelly -- to acquire Gonzalez, then signed him to a seven-year, $154 million extension in April 2011.

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But with the Red Sox essentially out of contention for a playoff spot and the Dodgers under new ownership, Los Angeles is aggressively making a strong bid to bolster its chances for this season and the future.

Beckett, a 10-and-5 player, has the right to refuse to go to L.A.

A Red Sox official, speaking on the condition of anonymity Thursday, insisted the Red Sox had no issues with Gonzalez on or off the field, but said the club was exploring all avenues to improve. Ridding itself of Gonzalez's salary might free up resources that would allow it to make significant improvements to a pitching staff that has significantly underperformed.

"I think something is happening, but I'm in a state of disbelief that it is," one baseball source said Friday.

Gonzalez was asked about the Dodgers rumors before Friday's game, where he was in the lineup batting fifth.

"Waiver questions? I'm not talking about that," he said.

During his daily pregame news conference, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was asked about the situation.

"I have no thoughts at all," Valentine said. "I saw it scroll on the bottom of my TV."

Valentine said he had a conversation with general manager Ben Cherington earlier in the day and Gonzalez was not mentioned.

"I talked to Ben this afternoon and there was no mention -- at all," Valentine said. "There wasn't a mention of 'who do you want?' There wasn't any conversation, so I believe it's nothing more than the standard operational of a guy gets claimed, it's a block, it's not a trade and life goes on."

Gonzalez leads the Red Sox in batting average (.300), RBIs (86), on-base percentage (.343) and hits (145) this season.

The Red Sox and Dodgers had broached a trade for Gonzalez at the July 31 trade deadline, but sources with both clubs insisted the talks never got beyond the preliminary stage.

ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald contributed to this report.

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