The final week of August is here ...
- News broke late Friday night that the Dodgers were contemplating something crazy: taking on Carl Crawford's albatross of a contract, AND taking on Josh Beckett's considerably less albatross-y but still ugly contract, AND giving up a couple good prospects, all so they could get Adrian Gonzalez (and his kinda-big contract). And crazy they were, as the deal went through on Saturday, with the Dodgers taking on more than $260 million in new commitments. The new ownership group there clearly does want to flex its financial muscles. Ken Rosenthal tackles the deal from the Dodgers' perspective and works - at great difficulty, to my eye - to justify the move. Rob Neyer looks at the deal from the Red Sox's perspective, and notes that it's time for the Red Sox to get back to the principles under which they operated back in 2002, when Theo Epstein first took over: scouting, development, no long/huge contracts for aging veterans, etc.
- The other big weekend news, of course, was Roger Clemens' 3.1 innings of work with the Sugarland Skeeters at the age of 50. He didn't give up a run, but his fastball topped out in the upper 80s. There is speculation that Clemens, despite his protestations, hopes to get a shot at pitching a couple innings in the bigs so that he can push back his Hall of Fame clock another five years. Then, the theory would go, enough time will have passed for folks to have changed their mind about the steroid issue. Again, that's the theory. For what it's worth, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said that Clemens "looked good" ... "He certainly can compete at that independent ball level."
- In other good news for the Dodgers, Vin Scully has announced that he'll be back for a 64th season next year as the Dodgers' announcer. He'll again do a limited schedule (mostly Dodger home games and a handful of NL West games), but no one is complaining about having him back.
- He returned for one game from an achilles injury, but David Ortiz is now "likely" headed right back to the DL. It's a bummer for Ortiz, who was having a great season before this achilles business started.
- The Orioles finally picked up a pitcher, adding Joe Saunders from the Diamondbacks for Matt Lindstrom and a PTBNL (which might actually be a decent PTBNL, given that, in August, any player on the 40-man roster who is to be traded must first clear waivers - so, if it is a decent prospect on the 40-man, for example, clearing waivers is impossible, and the kid is instead included as a PTBNL). (But, yeah, it's probably not a decent PTBNL.)
- Mets GM Sandy Alderson says he expects David Wright and R.A. Dickey not only to be with the Mets in 2013, but also long term. Each could be a free agent after 2013.
- Beyond the Boxscore examines why the Norichika Aoki signing has actually proved to be a very shrewd move by the Brewers.