MLB Rumors: Mookie Betts being traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers or the San Diego Padres has been the topic of discussion for much of the new year, and with pitchers and catchers reporting next week, the sense seems to be that a deal is increasingly likely, with the situation likely to be resolved shortly.
Peter Gammons yesterday tweeted that three National League executives thought Betts to the Dodgers was inevitable, and Gammons mentioned a package fronted by outfielder Alex Verdugo and minor league infielder Jeter Downs. While there has generally been condemnation of the Red Sox from media and fans for looking to dump Betts, one of the top players in the game and someone who will be a free agent after this season, to get under the luxury tax, there are baseball related reasons to make a Betts trade. If Boston is not optimistic about their chances of surpassing the New York Yankees in the American League East this year, getting Verdugo, who is 23, put up a 3.1 bWAR in 377 plate appearances in 2019, and is under team control for five more years, along with Jeter Downs, ranked #86 on the Baseball America top 100 prospect list for 2020, for one year of Betts makes some sense.
A deal with the Padres would seem less likely, as San Diego reportedly would want Boston to take Wil Myers and at least some of the $68.5 million owed to him over the next three years as part of any deal. That would give the Red Sox more in the way of prospects, presumably, but given that there appears to be a desire to get under the luxury tax line this year, taking Myers would be an issue, potentially.
We have talked about the Texas Rangers potentially pursuing center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who is due $11 million for 2020, and who is someone the Red Sox would likely be looking to move for a relatively small return if they are trying to get under the luxury tax line. If they keep Betts, they can move Bradley and put Betts in center field. If Betts is dealt, however, it would appear to be less likely that Bradley is traded. If the Padres make a deal with Boston and send Manuel Margot, a center fielder who was originally a BoSox prospect, along with Myers, then Bradley is potentially expendable as a way to get under the luxury tax, and Margot could step into center field.
Most likely, though, a Betts deal would mean that the Rangers won’t be trading for Bradley.