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How deal would change Red Sox payroll

08.24.12 at 9:33 pm ET

The Red Sox were in something of a box this past offseason. Due to a number of cumbersome long-term commitments, the team lacked the flexibility to respond to some market opportunities (most notably, the possibility of competitive one-year bids for pitchers like Edwin Jackson and Hiroki Kuroda) and requiring the shedding of payroll in order to make other moves (as when the team dealt Marco Scutaro to free the resources to sign free agent Cody Ross).

Even with free agent Daisuke Matsuzaka and traded corner infielder Kevin Youkilis off the books, the team seemed like it might face a similar reality this offseason. The prospective deal with the Dodgers that would send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to Los Angeles — along with Nick Punto — will change that outlook dramatically.

The deal would lead to the departure of four of the nine players signed to guaranteed contracts beyond 2012. Indeed, in Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett (in that order), the team would part with its three biggest contracts (as measured by average annual value). While the Sox are reportedly going to send some money to LA in the blockbuster, the increase in flexibility beyond the 2012 season could be staggering. In one fell swoop, the Sox would go from $99.59 million in guaranteed deals to $38.8 million.

Here’s the breakdown of players on the 40-man roster:

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