Last night, the Los Angeles Dodgers took the MLB landscape by storm by trading for 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts, as well as 2012 CY Young award winner David Price. This makes this Los Angeles team, that has won the past seven National League West titles, the easy favorite to make it over the hump and win the 2020 World Series.
On the other side of things, the Boston Red Sox gave up a top-five player in the MLB, as well as a frontline starter. In exchange, Boston received 23-year-old outfielder Alex Verdugo, Minnesota Twins pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol, and salary relief.
Giving up Price was no issue for the Sox. The 34-year-old’s inflated contract made it easy for Boston to move on. Their front office has had its eyes set on getting under the luxury tax threshold for some time, and dealing the lefty was going to be a big part in achieving that goal. But unfortunately for Boston, dumping Price’s contract also meant giving up one of the most talented players to ever grace a Red Sox uniform.
From a Red Sox perspective, there are two ways you can look at this: optimistically or pessimistically. It may be hard for Sox fans to look at this deal in a positive light right now, but there are definitely some aspects of the trade that work in the Red Sox favor.
Like I mentioned, Boston was able to get out from under Price’s contract. They are still set to pay some of his remaining salary, but $32 million is a lot for an aging pitcher. Add in Mookie Betts’s $27 million and the Red Sox got their 25-man payroll down to $143 million.
At the same time, Boston was able to snatch up Graterol, MLB.com’s number 83 overall prospect, as well as Verdugo (a former top-prospect in his own right). With Betts set for free agency, and his reported contract ask sitting at 12 years $420 million, there was a possibility Boston had no chance to bring the former MVP back; so why not get something for him now?
Execs referred to below are RIVAL execs, not from #RedSox. Their overriding point: For many years, Sox made short-term decisions with little regard for future. They were left with a depleted farm system and an expensive roster. They eventually needed to pivot – or crash. https://t.co/5TvJXNAvuP
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 5, 2020
This is where I tend to stand on this deal. Great, the Red Sox were able to get under the luxury tax threshold, but why should I care. Boston’s ownership group is worth billions of dollars and continue to print money at the front gates of Fenway Park. Could they really not find a way to keep the best right fielder in baseball? The Red Sox are not the Kansas City Royals. Boston should be paying the best players in baseball, not trading them away. But I guess getting rid of Betts will help the Sox win another World Series.
Agree 100% Ken. Use that $40-50 million in flexibility for a MVP caliber corner outfielder and you back in the mix https://t.co/Rb5Nbpzd9X
— Trilly X (@TylerIAm) February 5, 2020
To add on, the idea that the Red Sox needed to replenish their farm system by dealing Betts is insane. When you trade for prospects, you want them to turn out what Betts has become. Trading Betts is trading a known commodity for a couple of guys who will have a tough time replicating the impact Mookie has on each and every game.
The future will tell us how this deal will actually turn out. The fact that Red Sox fans have to sit back and accept the idea that their billionaire owners aren’t willing to pay one of the best, most beloved Boston athletes is infuriating. Still, Boston has been shelling out money for years, so it is kind of tough to be irrationally angry at ownership.
Regardless, Mookie Betts is Mookie Betts. A former MVP, fan favorite, and one of the most exciting players in the league. Betts will be in the league for umpteen more years so Boston fans won’t miss him completely, but this is a franchise altering move: one Boston may end up regretting.
-Jarrod Ribaudo (@Jribs53)
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