We’ve heard all winter that the Boston Red Sox may try and move Mookie Betts ahead of his free agency and those whispers stirred up again yesterday.
All winter long, Red Sox Nation has kept their ear to the ground listening for whispers of a possible Mookie Betts trade. The superstar has only a single season left on his current deal and has made it known he wants to test free agency. We’ve also heard multiple trade rumors about other key members Boston’s lineup, but Betts firmly has the attention of one big market team.
Jon Morosi of the MLB Network reported yesterday afternoon that the Dodgers have been in touch with Chaim Bloom about acquiring the right-fielder. This is the first time this offseason where it actually feels like a team could make a power move to lure Betts away. As we all know, the Dodgers aren’t hurting for cash in any way and could easily offer him the big-money contract he’s looking for next winter.
The most interesting part of Morosi’s report, at least in my eyes, is that LA also seems interested in David Price. Boston’s veteran southpaw has been the biggest piece they’ve wanted to move this winter as he’s set to earn $96M over the next three seasons. Again, a salary that wouldn’t even force the Dodgers to blink.
It’s felt like every time a rumor has popped up about Betts possibly being on the move they’ve fizzled out quickly, but this one feels like it could have some legs. Despite their World Series clash in 2018, the Dodgers and Red Sox have a friendly history when it comes to the trade market. We all know of the deal that allowed the Sox to dump a ton of money in 2012.
Mookie is the big-ticket item here for the Dodgers and could be the crown jewel of their lineup for years to come. For me, the fact that they’re willing to take Price as well shows how serious they are and possibly even desperate.
With the price tag that the lefty has around his contract, it will be damn near impossible to move him, but if the Dodgers want Mookie badly enough then it sure seems they’ll eat that money to make it happen.
So, that’s all fine and dandy but the Red Sox need to make sure they aren’t being shortsighted and that they get something in return. This is where the expertise of Bloom will come in handy as he’s built a career on getting quality players and prospects in return. He’s basically the anti-Dombrowski, instead of selling the farm he likes to cultivate and grow his crops.
Bloom absolutely must ask for a King’s Ransom of prospects if this deal is to make sense for both sides. He can’t just allow the Dodgers to pillage two of his best players while getting seemingly nothing in return. LA has four prospects in the MLB’s Top 100 list and BSI’s Sean Penney made a solid point that if they aren’t offering at least two of them, then the Sox need to hang the phone up.
It’s no secret that FSG wants Chaim to work his Moneyball magic and get the budget down to the $208M CBT limit ahead of the upcoming season. Getting Price off the books would do that in the blink of an eye and make everyone’s life easier in the money department. They could then turn around and use that money to sign a replacement for far less.
We all thought that the budget cut mandate was a double-edged sword, as it was to not only reset the penalties and save FSG some money but also allow the Red Sox to back the Brinks truck up to Mookie’s front door.
If Boston sends Betts off to Hollywood then they would no longer need to worry about making him an offer, though I’m sure they’d still try. We know how well re-signing a player you just traded away goes. See: Lester, Jon.
I just don’t see that working in the team’s favor, however, they could use the new penalty wiggle-room and freed up cash to splash on other components they need to fill out the roster. Financial freedom could mean another boom period of spending for the Red Sox even with the fiscally responsible Bloom at the helm.
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Seeing Mookie in another uniform would be a dagger to the heart but it’s something that Red Sox Nation has been preparing themselves for. Never once has the superstar said he wants to leave Boston but more that he wants to be compensated for his level of play. I think any and all of us would feel the exact same way as we all just want to be paid what we feel we’re valued.
Price has had an up and down tenure in Boston not only on the field but off. He’s never gotten himself into any trouble but his disdain for the media has been apparent since day one and then there’s his weird beef with Dennis Eckersley. The southpaw has always been said to be a fantastic teammate but his time at Fenway Park may be running out.
If Chaim Bloom does trade Mookie away then he’ll need to work some absolute magic to keep the Fenway Faithful at bay. After such a horrid season in 2019 and with ticket prices soon to increase again, the front office needs to figure something out to keep the fans happy. This move would be the opposite as Betts is beyond loved by Sox Nation, but if they can turn the Price money into some strong moves, it could be forgiven.
The news of this possible blockbuster trade got fans and pundits alike talking. Moving two big-name players, one of which is a former MVP, is going to get the chatter fired up. Chaim Bloom is more than capable of pulling this move off but if he wants to keep the people happy, then he needs to pull off an equally impressive swap in return. It’s safe to say, all eyes around the MLB world will be focused on the Red Sox and Dodgers for the next few days.