Red Sox: Five biggest offseason questions heading into December
By Tim Starr
Who will be traded?
Rumors have surrounded Red Sox players this entire offseason. While none of the rumors have come to fruition, it seems like a trade is on the horizon. A number of players who have been talked about are Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, David Price, and Nathan Eovaldi. All of them are set to make a decent amount of money that the Red Sox would be happy to shed. I wrote an article earlier in the offseason describing five trade candidates Boston has.
Mookie is set to make $27.7 million in arbitration in 2020, per MLB Trade Rumors, and he has been reluctant to sign a long-term contract. Reports have indicated he and the Red Sox have yet to have discussions regarding a contract extension to stay in Boston.
His desire to enter free agency and earn every cent he can may be his exit ticket out of Boston as the Red Sox are tight on payroll. Personally, I don’t think Betts should be dealt because he is a franchise-changing player and you build your team around that player, you don’t build around the players he brings back in a trade.
Also, I’m skeptical a club will fork over a haul of prospects for Betts as he only has one year of control and is set to make a hefty payday in 2020. The Red Sox front office may be so determined to cut payroll they will create another Curse of the Bambino if they trade Mookie. Let’s just hope he is in Boston for the rest of his career.
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Another trade option is JBJ. He will make north of $10 million in arbitration which is not great for a player who was 10 percent worse than league average last year. I believe that a center fielder that is strong defensively is very important to a winning ball-club, but the Red Sox can’t be handing over serious amounts of money for a player that provides little to no offensive value. This is a similar situation as to Sandy Leon at catcher.
Ultimately, Bradley’s fate comes down to Betts. If the 2018 MVP is traded, Jackie will likely stay. If the Red Sox come to their senses and keep Mookie, it is still no guarantee JBJ is traded, but it definitely raises the chances. Cutting the 2018 Gold Glove award winner to keep Betts would be a small price to pay.
Price and Eovaldi are both in similar situations as far as their status in Boston. Both are signed for three more years and both are making serious money for those three years. Eovaldi makes $17 million a year, while Price makes $32 million a year. Both garnered interest early in the offseason from the Texas Rangers, but those rumbling have seemed to die down. Unless a team is willing to eat a significant amount of money on either of these contracts, both will begin 2020 with the Red Sox.
Overall, the Bradley and Betts situation kind of depend on each other as only one will most likely be traded as to not leave a huge hole in the outfield.