Red Sox: Is trading Mookie Betts sensible and worth consideration?

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Mookie Betts
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Mookie Betts /

The Boston Red Sox have an abundance of young talent that will have to be paid rather handsomely. Is trading the best of the best even worth considering?

Let’s trade Mookie Betts!  That would certainly make for a different offseason for the Boston Red Sox.

That’s right – I’m off my meds!  Ship out Mookie to the highest bidder. Trading an icon?  Why, that is nuts. Is it?  Just a few short years ago, Dustin Pedroia was untouchable and now? The mention of trading good old Pedey surfaces with his injury history, age, bloated contract and supposed lack of leadership. “Not me” is the impression far too many have of Pedroia circa 2017.

Baseball history is loaded with stars being sent elsewhere.  Reportedly the Red Sox and Yankees even considered the ultimate superstar exchange – Joe DiMaggio for Ted Williams. Both GM’s sobered up and the deal was not consummated. But even legends move on – just ask Pedro Martinez, Dwight Evans and a slew of others.

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The primary aspect of a trade where money is not an issue is does it make your team better? How in the world does trading Betts make your team better? How does trading a five-tool player make you better? If I got a call from the Angels and they said, “Mike Trout for Mookie” it would be “See Ya!” for Mookie. Just like if the Dodgers called with Clayton Kershaw being offered for Chris Sale.

So, the star for star is a legitimate option, but what about the star for a pile of prospects or budding talent with some respectable MLB experience? For Red Sox Nation such a move would be viewed the same way Scott Boras views the Miami Marlins approach to roster management.

Can it even be legitimized? But that is a real pattern in baseball – prospects for talent – superior talent – and Boston has certainly done their share. What would you expect in return? The first item would be a choice of any two prospects with the addition of a player on the roster.  Maybe even having Hanley Ramirez tossed in?  Why Betts? Why gamble?

One concern that surfaces are the stall.  What is the stall? Generally, with young players of superior talent, we project with great passion but quite questionable numbers.  Assumptions are simply made based on the current and just think Andrew McCutchen.  Cutch has periodically been on the trading block the last few years as the projections after an MVP season failed to materialize as expected.

The Betts of 2017 showed a slight drop from the Betts of 2016.  No real MVP traction despite being the best player on the team. Is that a trend?  Will each season see a slight chip taken off the statistical block?

And what about injuries? Betts has more than a healthy dose of Trot Nixon Dirt Dog in his baseball DNA. Players can collapse with injuries eroding those once magnificent skills. Does Nomar Garciaparra come to mind?  Does for me. Always a prime concern.

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An obvious concern is simply money. A Betts MVP Award going into his walk year would make a Giancarlo Stanton like contract a distinct possibility. Boston is fortunate to have cash and no need for owner John Henry  to go to Cash for Cars and jettison his Bentley. But still, there are payroll limits and the Betts’ of the baseball world are limited to the fiscal upper crust.

Betts has an electric personality and that means marketing. Who would you rather have selling your brand – Betts or David Price? But does that personality wish to stay in Boston? Betts may wish to get on his plane and fly elsewhere.

Teams explore trades – even one as outrageous as this one. This is just solid, smart and adaptive business practice. Fans – like myself – enjoy the fantasy aspect that is really a traditional Hot Stove League tradition where the most creative of trades would be arranged.  The more absurd the better.

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For myself, every player should be routinely examined for market value.  During the season players – even the best of the best – occasionally find themselves on waivers just to check market conditions. If I felt Betts being traded could help the team I would do it despite my own personal emotional involvement.