Red Sox: Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. on MLBTR’s Top 25 to be traded
By Tim Starr
With Mookie Bets and Jackie Bradley landing on a top candidates to be traded, there seems to be an increasing chance one won’t be with the Red Sox in 2020.
MLB Trade Rumors ranked the Top 25 Offseason Trade Candidates, and two Red Sox players landed on the list. Jackie Bradley Jr. landed at number four, while the 2018 MVP Mookie Betts landed at the number 20-22 spot (so did Kris Bryant and Francisco Lindor).
For Bradley, the article says that his on the field value isn’t creating a market for him, rather that several teams have a need in center field. While the article doesn’t list any teams, some clubs that can use a center fielder are the New York Mets, San Diego Padres, and Cincinnati Reds. One thing all of these teams have in common – they are fringe contenders that are going all-in for the 2020 season.
Earlier this offseason, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Bradley was “all but certain” be playing for a different team come 2020. With JBJ landing this high on a list to be traded, it seems as if the Red Sox may need a new center fielder in 2020.
At this point, I won’t be too sad if Bradley departs from Boston. While he has played a large role since his 2013 debut and he had a clutch performance in the 2018 ALCS against the Astros, he is getting paid $11 million (per MLB Trade Rumors) next season which is a lot for a below-average offensive player (90 OPS+ in 2019).
The next and final Red Sox player that seeped into the top 25 trade candidates is Betts. He was tied with Lindor and Bryant, as all three of those players are superstars that may be leaving currently contending teams.
The article makes fun that contending teams are considering trading their best players. It also states that Lindor is the most likely to be traded, Mookie the least likely, and they are just confused by the Bryant rumors. I agree with the article as I think Betts is less likely to be dealt with the Lindor market growing, especially for teams that miss out on infielders such as Anthony Rendon or Josh Donaldson.
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For Betts, I believe the market would involve teams like the San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves, and the Chicago White Sox. The Padres and White Sox are exiting their extensive rebuilds and both could use an outfielder. With the payroll to sign him to a long-term deal, the 2018 MVP could be the cherry on top to bring either clubs back to the postseason. The Braves could also use some outfield help and with relatively little payroll commitments for the next several years (Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies signed team-friendly extensions), they could trade for then sign Mookie in an effort for a World Series push.
I hope Betts doesn’t get traded as he has been the heart and soul of the Red Sox since David Ortiz retired after the 2016 season. The Red Sox front office should do everything in their power to sign him to a long-term extension instead of going down the avenue of trading him.
Overall, Betts and Bradley made the list of likeliest players to be traded. While Red Sox Nation can only hope Mookie isn’t dealt, it may become a reality if these rumors turn out to be true. With the chances pretty high of one of these players being dealt, there may be a new right or center fielder come 2020.