Not even reigning MVP Mookie Betts is off-limits in trade talks if the Boston Red Sox decide to become sellers at the deadline.
Never say never when it comes to trade discussions with the Boston Red Sox. Not even when it comes to their best player, Mookie Betts.
During an appearance on the Dale & Keefe Show on WEEI, Dave Dombrowski was asked about the possibility of trading Betts, who is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season.
While the president of baseball operations certainly isn’t eager to push the reigning MVP out the door, he did indicate that nobody is untouchable in trade talks.
"“I’ve always said, you always consider trading any player you possibly have,” Dombrowski noted. “When I was with Detroit, Miguel Cabrera was the MVP and you’re in the position where he won the Triple Crown. I used to say, would I trade Miguel Cabrera, yeah I would trade Miguel Cabrera because if you could get two Miguel Cabreras for one, you would do that. So it doesn’t happen very often but you have to be open-minded. So, sure, could you ever do that with any player the answer would be, ‘Yes.’ Is it likely, most likely not but, again, you can never tell what happens with any particular player.”"
There has been some speculation from the fan base that the Red Sox will trade Betts before he breaks their hearts by bolting in free agency after next season. With Boston entering the day 11 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East and two games out of a Wild Card spot, the time to sell could come as soon as next Wednesday’s trade deadline if they fall further back in the race.
The Red Sox are on the fence about whether or not to be buyers or sellers. Their upcoming schedule packed with games against the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays will go a long way toward answering that question.
Whether it be at the deadline next week or during the offseason, dealing Betts remains an unlikely scenario. The case for trading the team’s best player stems from the fear that he’ll leave in free agency due to his refusal to sign an extension. This concern is wildly overblown.
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Betts is intent on testing the market in order to maximize his potential earnings. It’s not a sign that he’s eager to leave Boston or that he won’t re-sign here. He simply knows that the open market will drive up the price in his favor.
It will obviously take an enormous offer to keep Betts long-term. Is anyone really concerned that the team with MLB’s highest payroll is suddenly going to get stingy when it comes to their best player? Do people honestly believe that the Red Sox front office hasn’t been planning their future payroll commitments in preparation for a deal for Betts?
Sure, it only takes one team making an offer so ridiculous that no other team in their right mind would consider topping it. That slim possibility isn’t a reason to consider trading Betts now.
Dombrowski isn’t shopping Betts and if he does deal him, it’s not because he’s concerned about his chances of locking him up with a new deal. That’s not what he’s saying at all. His comments are merely an honest answer about why no player should ever truly be untouchable.
The Red Sox love Betts but if the Los Angeles Angels called and offered a straight-up swap for Mike Trout, Dombrowski should take the deal. As great as Betts is, Trout is the greatest player of this generation and already locked up long-term.
What if a team with a loaded farm system offered three or four of their best prospects? A team with one of baseball’s worst farm systems has to at least consider it. A few can’t-miss blue-chip prospects with All-Star upside and six-plus years of control is more valuable than one MVP candidate who will be owed a massive salary.
Neither of these scenarios is realistic but if a team were willing to significantly overpay to pry Betts out of Boston, why wouldn’t Dombrowski listen?
Keeping an open mind in trade discussions is a lot different from actively attempting to trade a player. Dombrowski has never been shy about making bold moves and he’s been involved in his fair share of blockbuster deals. He probably won’t trade Betts but he’s not ruling it out. Nobody is untouchable if the price is right.