Red Sox Rumors: Mookie Betts trade “is going to happen”
By Sean Penney
Mookie Betts getting trade appears inevitable based on the latest reports about conversations the Boston Red Sox are having with two NL West rivals.
It’s no longer a matter of if, but when and where the Boston Red Sox will trade Mookie Betts.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic appeared on MLB Network on Monday to discuss the rampant rumors. Trade talks with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres appear to be drawing to a close with a resolution expected in the next day or two.
The statement from Rosenthal was quite clear. “This is going to happen. Mookie Betts is getting traded.”
The Dodgers seem to be the favorites to land Betts. They have the financial flexibility to make a cleaner deal, as opposed to the Padres, who are still insisting on dumping the Wil Myers contract on the Red Sox. The inclusion of Myers in the deal cuts Boston’s savings nearly in half for luxury tax purposes, leaving them well shy of their goal of reaching the threshold.
Not only would Los Angeles make a deal without pawning off a bad contract, they might be willing to take one off Boston’s hands in order to pry Betts away. The Red Sox and Dodgers have discussed scenarios that include David Price joining Betts in LA.
This echoes what USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted earlier in that day, which indicated that the Dodgers were trying to convince the Red Sox to pay a portion of Price’s salary in order to get the deal done.
It’s unclear how much the Red Sox would be forced to pay, but even if they eat half of the $96 million remaining on Price’s contract, packaging him with Betts would shed $43 million from Boston’s 2020 payroll. It also clears a significant chunk of payroll in each of the following two seasons. Although, another way to look at it is that Boston would have about $16 million per year in dead weight on their payroll for a player who no longer pitches for them.
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The incentive for chipping in for Price’s salary is to convince the Dodgers to take the lefty in the deal without deflating the value of the return they would receive for Betts. The Dodgers were rumored to be offering an appealing package of young major league players and prospects. There’s no way that they give up that much if they have to pay Price’s full salary.
Accepting a lesser return simply to get rid of Price would be a shameful salary dump that sacrifices of the best position players in the game simply to save a few bucks. It would be a disgrace to allow the Betts era in Boston to end that way.
The Padres remain very much involved in the Betts sweepstakes and would be ready to pounce if the Dodgers fail to get the deal done. San Diego wouldn’t be able to save the Red Sox nearly as much money but that could motivate them to load up their offer with more prospects in order to steal Betts away from the Dodgers. Rosenthal sounded skeptical that the Padres would go that far but he called them a wild card in this race due to their ability to overwhelm the prospect package that Los Angeles is offering.
Is Betts moving to LA or San Diego? Will Price be joining him? Is there a mystery team lurking? There are plenty of open questions as these rumors continue to evolve but the finish line appears to be in sight. We should expect to find out these answers later this week. At this point, it would be shocking to see Betts in Fort Myers when the Red Sox report to spring training this month.