ran.Adebayor is joining Iranian side Tractor SC.Th


I anssen signed for Spurs from AZ Alkmaar in 2016 and only played 42 times for the club since.They struggled to sell the 25-year-old in previous transfer windows.However, a €7million move for the forward has been agreed with Monterrey.The Liga MX teawould be wary of starting pitcher in Week 1 (March 31-April 7) since his track record against the Angels isn’t very strong. 

Holland, who will make his season debut Friday opposite Jason Vargas, is 7-5 with a 5.58 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 16 career games (13 starts) against the Angels. Last season, Holland went 2-2 with a 7.00 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in four starthis new club.The English central defender has arrived for a record fee for a defender.He will have his work cut out for him at United, given the team finished sixth last season and conceded goals for fun.”It’s a young team now and I think we’ve got bs against Los Angeles.

Oh yeah, and the start is at home, where Holland owns a 5.34 fee from Arsenal to release Mikel Arteta.City assistant coach Arteta is the frontrunner for the Gunners job after talks with club officials at his mansion in Manchester on Sunday.The Mirror says City have told the Gunners it will cost them a seven-fERA and 1.45 WHIP in 284 2/3 innings. 

ty attacker Raheem Sterling this summer.The Sun sa


is not as bad as all the whiny, griping fans make him out to be. In 2010 and 2011, Wells hit 56 total home runs. He would have hit 25 last year had aly Giuseppe Conte adm-Korean-star-forward-Hwang-Hee-chan-starring-Red-Bull-Salzburg.html”>Daily MailArsenal-scouting-South-Korean-star-forward-Hwang-Hee-chan-starring-Red-Bull-Salzburg.html”> says Arsenal and Crystal Palace are among the Premier League clubs keeping a clits they may call for the suspension of all Serie A matches next weekend.Coronavirus concerns led to a raft of games being scrapped this past weekend.There were four Serie A matches postponed on Sunday, Inter-Sampdoria, Atalantainjury and Mike Trout not struck. indicates that his batting average is due for a correction (up!).

He’s still a decent defender and can steal 6-8 bases. Wells somehow gained the stigma of being “finished” when he failed to play up to expectations in 2011 after signing a massive contract with the Angels. But it’s created a caricature that simply isn’t accurate. Deep mixed leaguers may want to consider Wells — who has hit 25 or more home runs five times in his career — as an option in the last couple of rounds. Moving to a frien Kovacic has withdrawn from Croatia’s upcoming Euro2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and Azerbaijan.The Chelsea midfielder picked up a knock in Saturday’s draw with Sheffield United.Kovacic has started all but one of Chelsea’s five matches in all compdlier park and into a situation where he’ll play every day (until at least May) suddenly makes Wells a sneaky draft pick for 2013.  

an attacking player as a youngster.The Blues centr


first baseman hopes to reorters regarding the coronavirus.Palace are taking the COVID-19 outbreak seriously, with the club shutting down their training ground and putting a hold on the sale of season tickets for next season.Premier League play is suspended until at least Aprsume taking batting practice Tuesday, reports .comchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva turned on his teammates after their defeat at Manchester United.Ederson allowed Anthony Martial to fire United into a first half lead despite getting a hand to the France striker’s shot.In the second half his mi. The slugger hasn’t played since spraining his right index finger during his final game of the World Baseball Classic. 

Encarnacio has been hitting off a tee recently,  but has Liga this past week? Here are ten of the top stories from transfers to milestones.REAL MADRID EARN CRUCIAL DERBY VICTORYAtlético de Madrid had frustrated Real Madrid in their derby LaLiga meetings at the Bernabéu for the past six years, but Los Blanot appeared in a game since the injury. He should be ready for opening day for the Blue Jays, however.

“I feel good, I just need to start playing again and I’m going to be all right,” Encarnacion said. “I just want to make sure I’ll be ready, I don’t want to start playing early and get worse. I want to make sure that when I start playing, I want to be 100 percent.”

Spain.Barcelona are working on a deal to re-sign


Despite going 0 for 4 Monday, catcher is batting .361 this spring with two homers and 11 RBI. He has also slugged a solid .611 through 19 Cactus League games. Mesoraco is competing with non-roster invite Miguel Olivo for the backup job to Ryan Hanigan. “I feel like I came in with a good plan and came in prepared,” Mesoraco told .com. “I knew it was going to be a little bit different thing than last year. I had to prove myself. I’m happy with the way I’ve played and with the way things have turneo show Barcelona star Lionel Messi thumping Liverpool midfielder Fabinho on Wednesday night.Messi scored twice as Barca beat Liverpool 3-0 at the Nou Camp in their Champions League semi-final first leg.The seions League final.The Mirror says ticket agencies are in chaos and unable to deliver promised seats for the game.And that could lead to mayhem on the streets of Madrid with hoards of tickLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he values the Dutch influence on his team.The German is assisted by Pepijn Lijnders and John Achterberg, who takes care of the goalkeepers. Virgil van Dijk is the undisputed leader of the defence and Georginio Wijnaldum is an important link in midfield. “The Dutch influence on the success in the Champions League is really invaluable,” says Klopp. “Virgil and Gini have had a great season, but that certainly also applies to Pepijn and John. We all benefit from that. I cannot compliment those two players often enough.”etless Liverpool and Tottenham fans being kicked out of UEFA Facond, his 600th club goal, was a superb 35d out.”

changes in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup defeat to Leic


The last time played for the — back in 2008 — he was in his mid-30s. Now entering his third stint with the team during his standout career, how old does he think is now?

“Twenty-five,” Ibanez told .com with a chuckle. “I really do. I’m 25. I really do think that. I don’t even see what the big deal is with the age thing. Maybe I’m naive to it all, but I feelsive win over disappointing West Ham United at Goodison Park.Silva is fighting to ease doubts over his future after four straight Premier League defeats plunged Everton into the relegation zone – but this was a vastly-improved, excellent display to e great, so I really don’t think about it. Except when these guys remind me; which is pretty much every day.”

Ibanez, who is actually 40, has n Murray says he didn’t know anything about Manchester United’s reported interest towards the end of January.The 36-year-old striker penned a new deal with Brighton this week, after he was linked Barca B debut last season and Girona chief Quique Carcel saw enough to make a move for him this week.AS says Carcel hopes to take Villarasa on-loan next season.Girona boss Juan Carlos Unzue believes Villarasa will fit seamlessly into his system in twith a late move to Old Trafford.Murray told talkSPORTseemingly discovered a youthful vigor this spring, hitting .366 with four homers and 13 RBI over 14 Cactus League games. Coincidentally, he has not hit above .310 in spring training since 2008, his last year with Seattle.

Yankees eye Chipper, who says he’s happy being a ‘bad golfer’


The made some noise Monday morning when general manager Brian Cashman revealed he has some level of interest in the (who didn’t even play in 2012), (who is likely to retire) and . Obviously the biggest name there is Chipper, who seems to be the most content retired player we’ve seen in recent memory.

“He’d be perfect,” Cashman said (). “I’d take Larry in a heartbeat. I think everybody would.”

Larry! Atta boy, Cashman. Just the fact that Cashman called Chipper by his rarely used given first name leads me to believe he was kCity boss Brendan Rodgers has rejected the public perception that his 2013/14 Liverpool title challenging team was The Luis Suarez show.Suarez was the Premier League’s top scorer during his final season at Liverpool, when the Reds missed out on the tind of discussing the situation tongue-in-cheek. And Cashman did say that he didn’t think Jones would have any interest in playing.

And he was right. Chipper took to Twitter to pre-emptively shoot down any rumors:

Enough with the rumors! While I am flattered about the speculation of being enticed out of retirement, I’m happy with life as a bad golfer!

— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10)

The Yankees appear desperate for corner infield help because they are without for at least half the season and for probably arounened to Rino Gattuso and joined Milan’s youth academy when he was a child, but it’s the Rossoneri who are left with regrets.He recalled, “I was eight years old and had a trial for the Milan academy, although at the time I was a striker. “They rejecd the first six weeks of the season. They could use at third or first, so filling either corner would work.

Here’s the rub, though: Once Teixeira returns, whoever the Yankees sign will likely be relegated to bench duty. So if you’re Lee or Rolen, do you really want to play so badly that you just play for six weeks and then ride pine? It’s worth noting they wouldn’t be pursuing a first World Series ring, as Lee won it all with the 2003 Marlins and Rolen won with the ’06 Cardinals.

For mock manager Pep Guardiola.City are two times defending Premier League champions, but they are going through a difficult season under the Spaniard.They are far away from Liverpool in the Premier League, with the Champions League trophy their only realire baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and . Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: , and .

When Dodgers could spend, Hanley and Adrian were at top of their list


GLENDALE, Ariz. — It’s easy to think that once the became baseball’s big spenders, they simply took on every big contract they could find.They sort of did, but not exactly.They did add some huge contracts during last season and again over the winter. They shocked the Marlins by agreeing to take on every last cent remaining in the July trade for , and no doubt surprised some people in Boston by picking up the , and contracts, as well.But as it turns out, Ramirez and Gonzalez were the two players the Dodgers had targeted, right from the moment the rich new owners took over last April.By June, they were already calling the Marlins about Ramirez, only to find out that the Marlins considered it a bit too early to pull the plug on their expensive experiment gone bad. The Marlins loved the idea of dumping Ramirez, but felt that doing it so early would send the wrong message (not that they a roadside ditch. The former England international was driving home from football when he became concerned about the gentlemen walking down the road.He reversed back to check if everything was okay, where he found the man had fallen in the ditch. Fosworried much about messages they sent later).By the end of July, the Dodgers had Ramirez. The A’s were trying to get him at the same time (and nearly did), but the A’s were only willing to assume half of the remaining contract (more than $35 million, throug to form.The Frenchman has struggled in recent weeks after initially thriving under Solskjaer’s leadership.Speaking ahead of boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he wasn’t playing media games regarding David de Gea’s fitness.De Gea came off with a muscle abductor problem in Spain’s European qualifier in Sweden on Tuesday and Solskjaer indicated on Wednesday he was out of the Saturday’s trip to Huddersfield, Solskjaer said: “Anthony [Martial] has got loads of goals in him.”It’s up to us now to move h 2014), while the Dodgers took all of it.While the Ramirez trade was being completed, the Dodgers were already trying hard to get Gonzalez. That deal wouldn’t be finished until late August, and would include Crawford and Beckett, too.But Ramirez and Gonzalez had been the initial targets. The Dodgers obviously had an idea both could be available, but they also believed both would fill huge needs, needs that would be difficult to fill on the free-agent market.”Look at the first baseman who were out there last winter,” one Dodgers person explained. “Did you want to end up with Casey Kotchman?”The Dodgers knew they needed to upgrade at first. They knew they wanted an established shortstop, and they knew the free-agent market would be woefully short on those, too.They targeted Ramirez early, and they targeted Gonzalez, too.By the end of the year, they ended up with both.

And while the trades didn’t bring immediate results — the Dodgers went just 18-18 with Gonzalez in the lineup, and just 33-31 with Ramirez — the Dodgers are convinced that eventually, it will all work.”I don’t think that it had enough time last year to work,” right fielder said. “But it seemed to blend as time went on.’

pool fullback Andy Robertson has rubbished claims


Braves pitcher had a on how they stunned Liverpool last month.A 3-0 defeat at Vicarage Road for Jurgen Klopp’s champions-in-waiting was their first in a staggering 44 matches. Victory for Watford had sent shock waves around the Premier League. ffield United boss Chris Wilder.The Daily Mail says Swansea City boss Graham Potter is the priority for Brighton after the sacking of Chris Hughton.But if Potter does turn down Brighton, the club would be keen to speak to Wilder. The Sheffield United”We noticed that they comm so-so day against the Mets on Monday, giving up two runs on six hitr trophies in six years as a Liverpool player, before returning to Anfield as manager in the 90s, retired from the game 13 years ago. He said: “There are people in football now who are trying to reinvent the wheel, coming up with new terminology, ps and a walk in four innings. He struck out two.

t the win.Milan go into the game underdogs.But Mus


You might not know a lot about Rays pitching prospect , but apparently it’s time to take notice, accors squad.Spurs have started the season poorly, getting only four points from their first three fixtures.They suffered a stunning 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United on Sunday – thanks to a goal from Joelinton.And Pochettino spoke about problems within the ding to .com. “This kid’s a legitimate upper-90s guy with life, and he’s left-handed,” Rays minor league pitching coordinator Dick Bosman said. He’s not the only person in the Rays’ organization who raves about Romero. “The first time I saw him throw in a game was last year in spring training,” Double-A Montgomery catcher said. “He got every guy out and struck out 11 of 12 — four innings, he struck out 11. I’m like, ‘Whew.'” Romero is now considered the Rays’ sixth-best prospect by Baseball America and MLB.com. “It’s nice to waed boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is weighing up the futures of Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira.The Sun says Solskjaer axed the pair in the games leading up to football’s lockout.He believed they needed a break after their displays were heavily scrutinitch him he’d welcome the chance to speak with Manchester United about taking players on-loan.The Kazakhs stunned United on Thursday night, winning 2-1 to keep their hopes alive of reaching the final 32 of the Europa League. United had already qualified for grow up,” Bosman said. “He comes over here and has all the basic requirements. He’s long and tall and his arm works well. The ball comes out of his hand real well. Now, can we harness all this stuff?”

a move away.The Manchester Evening News says repor


Pittsburgh and pitcher still have not finalized the re-working of a contract. Liriano agreed to a two-year deal with Pittsburgh in December, but the deal was revised after the lefty broke his non-pitching arm in a home-related accident. “The proar-old, who signed from Southampton in July 2014, will be available on a free transfer and a series of clubs have already begun to register an interest, says the Liverpool-midfielder-Adam-Lallana-set-leave-Arsenal-Tottenham-interested.html” target=”_cessBournemouth manager Eddie Howe has planned talks with Harry Arter.The midfielder spent last season on loan at Cardiff City.The Mirror claims Arter is being chased by the Bluebirds and Fulham.But first Howe wants to sit down with Arter to discuss his future.The Republic of Ireland international has been at the Cherries since 2010. continues,” GM Neal Huntingtonchester City attacker Leroy Sane admits his injury recovery has been a battle this season.Sane has been out of action since suffering knee ligament damage against Liverpool in the Community Shield last August. “It was the hardest and longest injury t said. “We have ongoing conversations. I’m not an oddsmaker, so I don’t know if it is likely or unlikely that we will add another pitcher.”

anchester United.The Arsenal teenage sensation spe


Former Yankees outfielder was arrested inchester United captain Antonio Valencia wants to return to Europe.The Ecuador captain returned home last summer to join LDU Quito, but is now making plans to return to Europe this month.Foot Mercato says Valencia’s agents are touting him to French cn Gwinnett County, Ga., on a battery charge Tuesday. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that police arrested Jones after responding to a call regarding a disAston Villa have signed 16-year-old striker Louie Barry from Barcelona – just six months after he joined the Spanish club, reports Sky Sports.Barry left West Brom to join Barca in July, turning down lucrative offers from a host of top European clubs – including a £2m deal with Paris Saint-Germain.The deal is subject to international clearance.pute bet.The French midfielder has been plagued by injuries this season and he has been absent since returning from the international break this month.He has not played since the 4-1 win at Southampton at the beginning of the month with a series of hamstringween him and his, wife, Nicole Derick. According to the police report, Derick said that Jones pulled her down a staircase and threatened to kill her. Jones was released on a $2,400 bond by 11 a.m. the same morning. He had signed to play with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League for next season.

Report: Royals discuss trading Wil Myers for Jon Lester or James Shields


The have discussed dealing outfielder , one of the highest regarded prospects in baseball, to the or in an attempt to find an ace, to The Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton.

The Royals and Red Sox have discussed a trade involving Myers going to Boston for left-handed starting pitcher . They have also discussed dealing Myers to the Rays for right-handed starting pitcher .

All three teams remain hesitant to continue further in trade talks, writes Dutton.

Myers, who turns 22 in December, hit .314/.387/.600 with 37 home runs in 591 plate appearances between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012. He is the Royals’ best prospect, to Baseball America.

Lester, who turns 29 in January, wiSassuolo face a battle to keep hold of Gianluca Scamacca.The young striker, 21, is the subject of serious interest from AC Milan and Benfica.Both clubs have had opening offers turned down, with Sassuolo seeking €25m to sell.Scamacca is currently on loan with Ascoli, where he has scored 10 goals in 17 games between Serie B and the Coppa Italia.Sky Italia says Benfica’s initial bid was for €10m.ll earn $11.625 mill coach Carlo Ancelotti says he’s “outraged” by the state of the San Paolo andr United have confirmed a new date for their EFL Trophy game against Lincoln City.The Reds are travelling to the lower division side on Tuesday October 1st.United started the competition with an impressive win over Rotherham.The Reds’ under-21s will says it is an insult to the club.Ancelotti inspected the stadium this week after summer reconstruction work.He blasted: “I saw the conditions of the San Paolo dressing roion in 2013, and the Red Sox have a $13 million club option on him for 2014. He’s coming off a down year for the Red Sox, going 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 166 strikeouts in 205 1/3 innings in 2012.

Shields, who turns 31 in December, will earn $10.25 million in 2013 and has one more club option remaining on his deal. He went 15-10 with a 3.52 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 223 strikeouts in 227 2/3 innings for the Rays in 2012.

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the latest rumors from bloggers Chris Cwik, Jack Moore and R.J. White, follow .

How the new free agent compensation system works


(Getty Images)

One of the most important changes brought about by MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement has to do with how teams are compensated for losing free agents. Since we’re up against the free-agent signing period, let’s take a look at those new rules and how they compareer’s “apology” about him as motivation at Arsenal.Holding moved to north London from Bolton for around £2million in the 2016 summer transfer window – having only previously played in the Championship.”Unfortunately no one speaks about the performanc to the old ones. 

Under the old system, noteworthy free agents were classified by Elias (nonsensically, in some cases) as being either “Type A,” “Type B” or “Type C” players. Teams that lost an or A- or a B-rated free agent to whom they had offered salary arbitration received compensation in the form of additional draft picks. To be more exact, a team losing a type-A player received the signing team’s first- or second-round pick (depending on the signing team’s draft slot) and a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds. A team that lost a type-B player was given a supplemental choice only. The loss of a type-C resulted in no compensation. 

The system now in place doesn’t entail any arbitrary classifying of free agents. Instead, a team that wishes to receive compensation must submit a “qualifying offer” to the outgoing free agent. A qualifying offer constitutes a one-year proposal worth at least the annuaham.The defender sees the Anfield showdown as an opportunity rather than an assignment to be scared of.“You can see it two ways,” said Alderweireld after their 1-1 draw with Watford. “It’s a big opportunity for us on Tuesday. We must use that.“l average salary of the top 125 free agents from the previous winter. For this offseason, that comes to a one-year offer of $13.3 million. 

If a team makes such a qualifying offer to an outgoing free agent and the free agent signs elsewhere, then his former team will receive a sandwich draft pick between the first and second rounds. The signing team, meanwhile, will forfeit its first-round choice — unless it’s a top-10 pick, in which case the team would give up a second-round pick. The lost picks don’t go to any other team; rather, the teams behind the vanished pick all slide up a slot. 

One other important change is now in place: To be entitled to compensation, a team must now have a departing free agent on its roster for the entirety of the season. Under the old framework, a team that acquired a walk-year player at, say, the non-waiver trade deadline could offer that player salary arbitration at season’s end and thus be entitled to compensatory draft picks. That’s no longer permitted.

For example, in previous years, the Angels would be compensated in the event that Zack Greinke signed elsewhere (provided, of course, they offerr United’s academy.Cox replaces Nicky Butt, who has moved into the new position of Head of First Team Development.Cox said: “Having spent over 20 years working to support the development of young people, it is an honour to be asked to lead the Mancheed arbitration to him). That won’t be the case this time around, since Greinke was on the Angels’ roster for only part of the 2012 season. 

So … got all that?

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow  on Twitter, subscribe to the  and.

nal are open to selling Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mu


Astros pitcher made his farcelona veteran Gerard Pique says his spell at Manchester United made him who he is as a player.The Spaniard spent four years at Old Trafford before returning to Barcelona, where he would make a nas game has improved at Everton since his first team promotion.The 19-year-old has been training with the first team for most of the campaign after having established himself as an integral part of David Unsworth’s Under-23s in the closing stages of 2me for himself as one of the world’s best defenders.irst appearance since getting hit in the face by a comebacker on Saturnd Cristiano Ronaldo.The Brazilian played alongside Ronaldo at Old Trafford for two seasons.And he believes Rashford possesses some of the same attributes as the Juventus superstar.”Marcus Rashford has been the best United player this season,” the exday against the Phillies. He tossed two-thirds innings of work with out allowing while striking out two in a 5-0 victory.

Big Deal: Veterans thrilled, Red Sox hailed, Dodgers criticized (by some, anyway)


(Getty Images)

One of the craziest, wildest and costliest (at least for one team involved) trades just went down, and many folks around baseball were left either admiring the sheer gall of the team that spent a quarter of a billion dollars (and about half of that on contracts that could only generously be called bad contracts), or wondering about the sheer craziness of it. Or maybe they were simply scratching their heads over the enormity of a trade in a month that’s known more for acquisitions of a more complementary nature.

Late August trades usually produce a back-of-the-rotation starter, a spare reliever or bench player, not two players signed to nine-figure deals ( and Carl Crawford) and another who was twice a World Series hero ().

More on Red Sox-Dodgers dealAnalysisRelated links More coverage | | |

When it was finished, you could imagine the principals on both teams celebrating. You could see the exuberant new  group fronted by Magic Johnson, the sunniest superstar in sports history, going nuts in the California sun. One observer said there were high fives and hugs all around in the aftermath of the July 31 trade that netted the new Dodgers group outfielder , whose Dodgers future surely is limited to weeks now that Crawford and his $100-million nut have been imported.

Meantime, you could easily imagine Messers. John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino enjoying a more low-key celebration in some blue-blood Back Bay club (no chicken and beer for this threesome). Having just ridded themselves of the worst contract in Red Sox history (Crawford’s), a growing thorn even if they wouldn’t admit it (Beckett’s overbearing presence among an impressionable underachieving younger rotation), and received two very nice pitching prospects in the process.

Everyone understood why the Red Sox, suffering through their unluckiest season in years, hit the reset button. But several baseball executives, who are only getting accustomed to the ways of the new Dodgers  ownership group, were having trouble coming to grips with the calculation that led the Dodgers to take $130-million in bad deals (and surrender the pair of righthanded prospects) just for the privilege of one fair superstar deal, the Adrian Gonzalez contract. “Insane,’’ one rival National League executive called the Dodgers’ end of the trade.

You’ll excuse competing execs for hyperbole attached to this outsized deal, as they struggle to come to grips with what just went down. The deal — which sent Gonzalez, Beckett, Crawford and feisty little utilityman west to the Dodgers for underachieving first baseman plus pitching prospects Rubby (pronounced Ruby) De La Rosa and Allen Webster, outfield prospect Jerry Sands and infield prospect Ivan De Jesus Jr. – was shocking  from both ends.

No one has ever witnessed spending like the Dodgers in baseball (it’s like a mid-‘80s Steinbrenner on steroids, if you’ll pardon the analogy). And rarely has anyone seen a financially healthy club like the Red Sox, with baseball’s second highest revenue, conduct a late-August fire sale on the fly.

 Here’s a closer look at how this affects the main players.

Dodgers people got the ball rolling, originally calling Red Sox president Larry Lucchino with one question in mind: would the Red Sox consider trading Gonzalez, the quiet hitting star whose recent occasional complaints about the soap-operatic nature of the Red Sox scene had begun to seep into the media. The $2.15 billion spent to buy the team by the new Dodges ownership team – officially the Guggenheim Partners – was only the beginning, as new president Stan Kasten insinuated when he told CBSports.com soon after the purchase of the team, “You think that’s (the new owners’) last $2 billion?’’

Kasten had been known as an overspending critic as president of the , but sources suggest the directive to spend is the brainchild of the money men above Kasten. The unusual strategy seems to be to improve the team, no matter the cost.

The Dodgers took the entire $38 million remaining on ’s contract at a time when Ramirez was batting .240 something over a year and a half period (that moves seems prescient today as Ramirez has unearthed his old enthusiasm and found his old stroke, with an RBI a game in L.A.) and put in a claim on , which would have obligated them to $95 million through 2015 had the simply said “take him.’’

“This is what happened when you have other people’s money to spend,’’ one competing owner said about the Dodgers, referring to the group’s insurance monies, while at the same time admiring their aggression. About this trade, that very same exec said, “This makes them the favorite in the National League to get to the World Series.’’

Unquestionably, they are the new financial bully on the block. But in the case of Lee, the Dodgers failed to persuade the Phillies to give him up, despite offering to send players (presumably prospects) to Philly to make it happen. The Phillies wanted to keep their big trio of starting pitchers together, and may have had an aversion to selling such a sale to fans that regularly jam Citizens Bank Park. The Red Sox, exhausted by a year of heartache, had no such qualms.

After Lucchino got the call from Dodgers people expressing interest in A-Gon, it seems Red Sox higher-ups quickly figured out their best play was to use the Dodgers, a team with lower revenues, as their new piggy back. Even with sending them about $12 million, the Red Sox will save upwards of $250 million with this deal.

De La Rosa and Webster give the Red Sox two strong arms (’s old GM Theo Epstein tried hard to pry Webster from L.A. for , but the Dodgers wouldn’t do it). The key to this deal for them, though, is what baseball people call “financial flexibility.’’

Lucchino and his Red Sox management team, willing to consider anything in season dominated by injuries and firestorms, surely didn’t take to long to realize that the best thing they could extract from the ill snub the Red Devils’ £350,000-per-week contract offer.He is out contract at the end of the summer and international team-mates reckon he may decide to run his current deal down and talk to other clubs in January to arrange a free transfer in theDodgers’ new largesse was the very cash they have used as a weapon. And they got plenty of spending loot here.

The question is for Boston now is: Where to begin? The free-agent market isn’t exactly stocked with stars, and one may question whether the two best players – and – are right for Boston.

Then again, who knows? No one, except his old team the , realized Crawford wasn’t a fit in Boston after he starred in the American League East against Boston for so long. The Red Sox aren’t going to hoard the cash, and they have no intention to rebuild, so look for them to be a big player this winter.

For now, the deal is being mostly cheered in Boston, where everyone is fan enough to realize the mega gift horse their team just received. As much fretting as there was break his silence on talk of a move to Newcastle United.Vieira, who would command a fee if he is to leave Nice, is due to speak to the press after Nice’s first pre-season training session of the summer on Monday – and will answer questions about hisover the team’s standing this year, there was much more worry about how the Crawford contract might handicap them for six years to come.

There’s no second guessing a trade they had to make. But the trick now for Boston will be in finding where to spending their newfound largesse. They could use an outfielder, a starting pitcher and maybe a first baseman and shortstop. But where will they get tfifth round of the FA Cup is a huge boon for the club.The Premier League side survived a huge scare in Tuesday’s fourth-round replay against League One Oxford United, who came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 and take the game to extra time.Neithhem?

Gonzalez, Beckett and Punto all looked thrilled on a Twitter picture posted on Punto’s account from the Dodgers’ plane, sent special by their new team. You could imagine, of course. This team is first class all the way.

You could also imagine Crawford smiling just as broadly down in Florida, where he was rehabbing after his elbow surgery. Part of the new Dodgers’ excitement could come from the thrill of joining a pennant race. But much of it may come from the wonder of going to a place that seems even greener (as in money). As unhappy as players were to represent old owner Frank McCourt, they are that happy to play for Magic’s team.

After Beckett quickly waived his no-trade rights (“he wanted to leave,’’ one Red sox official said), and so did Crawford, whose inclusion of the Dodgers on his no-trade list of only three teams was interesting, the Dodgers sent the same for the trio.

GM Ben Cherington’s public niceties regarding Beckett may have been partly PR, as even the staunchest Beckett supporter had to wonder whether he was hindering a rotation of kids that followed him around and seemingly had lost its way. He also wasn’t pitching especially well, as his 5-11 record and 5 ERA attest. Said one rival GM:  “If Beckett isn’t Beckett, I think the Dodgers are still in trouble.’’

The excising of the Crawford deal is the biggest benefit to Boston here, as no one could have imagined anyone taking a player with $100 million to go who had just gone under the knife. The Tommy John surgery may still allow Crawford to be ready for the start of the 2013 season. But even if it does open the year in L.A., the Dodgers have to hope, like Ramirez, he finds his pre-2011 Floridian glory.

He’s still young enough to do it, and Southern California may be laid-back enough to allow Crawford’s true talents to surface. For all A-Gon’s recent concerns about the Boston fishbowl, there isn’t any doubt the one it most affected was Crawford. There was reasonable question as to whether he ever was going to play to his potential in Boston, so it’s only right the Red Sox found the one team willing to absorb what’s left of his $142-million, seven-year deal.

No one else would have done it. No one else could have even considered it.

Let’s not forget, though, the Dodgers’ Hanley move has worked wonders despite some doubters. And even without Crawford until next year, the Dodgers’ lineup looks stacked.

The days where was considered mostly alone are long gone. A smiling A-Gon was on the way, perhaps the very one who made impossible PETCO Park seem hitter friendly only a few years ago. Gonzalez wasn’t bad in Boston, but he wasn’t the freakishly good hitter that terrorized National League pitching for seasons in .

 If the Dodgers get that guy, they may steal their division – though the word “steal’’ is being used loosely here, as it came with a quarter-billion-dollar expenditure.