Red Sox Rumors: Padres prospects that could make Mookie Betts deal work

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 24: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox hits a single during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Two of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on October 24, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 24: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox hits a single during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Two of the 2018 World Series at Fenway Park on October 24, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The San Diego Padres have a couple of appealing prospects that could entice the Boston Red Sox into trading Mookie Betts.

Mookie Betts isn’t on the trading block but that doesn’t mean the Boston Red Sox won’t listen. Anyone is available for the right offer. The San Diego Padres are reportedly interested in acquiring the former MVP and their loaded farm system has the assets to make an enticing offer.

There are some roadblocks to any potential deal based on what was reported to The Athletic. The most inconvenient hurdle is San Diego’s insistence on pawning off Wil Myers, a former star who has regressed significantly in recent years and is still owed $61 million over the next three years.

Myers counts for less than $14 million against the luxury tax based on the average annual value of his contract. Unfortunately, swapping him plus prospects for Betts only saves the Red Sox about $13 million, well short of what they need to dip below the tax threshold. Even if they moved other players to reach their payroll goals, they would still be stuck paying Myers north of $20 million per year. Avoiding the luxury tax is ideal but clogging their future payroll with a bloated contract is essentially paying a different type of tax to complete this trade.

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In order to convince the Red Sox to take back the Myers contract, San Diego must offer a massive prospect haul. They have the chips to make an offer that Boston’s brass couldn’t refuse but the initial report suggested that the Padres weren’t interested in surrendering their top prospects for a one-year rental.

Playing hardball in negotiations may push a Padres club hellbent on contending to reconsider where they draw the line and there may be signs that they are relenting on their stance. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the Padres are more willing to trade Luis Patino than MacKenzie Gore.

Gore is almost certainly off limits. He’s San Diego’s best prospect, ranked No. 4 overall in’s top 100, and arguably the best pitching prospect in baseball. We should assume the Padres aren’t foolish enough to trade 6+ years of a future ace for one season of a superstar outfielder.

The mention of Patino is interesting though. Dennis Lin’s report from The Athletic implied that Patino was among the prospects the Padres weren’t willing to put on the table. Heyman now suggests that San Diego is at least willing to talk about using Patino as the centerpiece.

Ranked No. 30 overall on’s list, Patino is a 20-year old right-hander who advanced to Double-A last year. He produced a 2.57 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 11.7 K/9 in 20 appearances split between two levels.

Patino’s fastball sits in the mid-90’s but has been clocked at 98 mph with late life. He features a swing-and-miss power slider and an above-average curveball. His increased walk rate following his promotion to Double-A was a concern, although that’s hardly surprising for a pitcher his age making the leap to a new challenge. He’s typically around the plate and projects to have solid command.

Lin followed up his report with a tweet indicating that the Red Sox have expressed interest in catching prospect Luis Campusano. He’s ranked No. 86 by and Baseball America is even higher on him at No. 79.

The 21-year old hit .325/.396/.509 with 15 home runs and 81 RBI over 110 games in High-A ball last season.

His aggressive approach and long swing suggest the lofty batting average isn’t sustainable but his bat speed and raw power should make him a top-notch offensive threat at his position. He has a strong, accurate throwing arm from behind the plate and projects to be an everyday catcher who contributes on both sides of the game.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier echoed Lin’s report of Boston’s interest in Campusano. While he’s only ranked fifth in the Padres farm system, the scarcity of offense at the catcher position could increase his value. Campusano is a few years away from the majors but he could hit his peak around the same time the 29-year old Christian Vazquez begins his decline phase.

Personally, I remain against the concept of the Red Sox trading Betts. It would mean punting on the 2020 season and cost them any leverage they might have with a potential tie-breaker in free agency negotiations next winter. Trying to win with him this year before hoping you can lock him up long-term remains the best option.

Let’s explore an alternative scenario though, for argument’s sake. The Red Sox are a rudderless ship approaching spring training without a manager. They still await a decision from MLB regarding punishment for the sign-stealing allegations against them, which could potentially cost them internal managerial candidates they’ve considered and valuable draft picks they need to restock their weak farm system. Their starting rotation is filled with injury risks held together with duct tape and glue sticks.

We saw last season how things can go terribly wrong for a loaded roster when they catch a few bad breaks. They are in a worse position this year following an offseason of turmoil. Boston might not contend with Betts on board, in which case hitting the reset button might be the best course of action in the long run.

Patino and Campusano would be an excellent pair to set the Red Sox up for a brighter future. San Diego would be reluctant to part with both but they may have to if they expect Boston to absorb the Myers contract. Either that or the Padres need to eat enough of Myer’s salary to allow the Red Sox to escape tax jail. Offering only one of these top prospects isn’t enough to get Betts and offset the negative trade value of Myers.

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Would the Padres be willing to surrender two of their top five prospects to make a postseason run with Betts and wash their hands of Myers? It’s unclear, but the fact that they are willing to think about it has sparked some life into what initially seemed to be a far-fetched rumor.