No longer inevitable: Red Sox trade Mookie Betts and David Price

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We knew a trade including Mookie Betts was coming — but not of this magnitude. The details are trickling in still, but various reports indicate a framework as follows:

  • Dodgers get: Mookie Betts, David Price, cash from Red Sox
  • Red Sox get: Alex Verdugo, Brusdar Graterol
  • Twins get: Kenta Maeda

This sure looks like a no-brainer for the Dodgers. As if they weren’t already the National League favorites, Betts and Price further cement LA’s status. Verdugo’s a nice player and has a solid future, but the odds of him ever coming close to Betts’s ability is slim to none. Meanwhile, Minnesota addressed a big need by acquiring Maeda to bolster its rotation. The Twins struck out on big name starters in free agency this winter, so Maeda should be a big help and is under contract for four seasons.

As for Boston, well, you know how I feel if you read my post earlier today. Verdugo is cool and all (114 wRC+, 2.2 fWAR as a 23 year-old in 2019), but he’s a steep drop from Betts. Boston can keep him for five more seasons, provided he doesn’t become too costly for them. Graterol, 21, is a hard-throwing righty and a top prospect. Minnesota apparently thought he was a reliever long-term, hence their willingness to deal him. I’m sure Boston will try to see if he can stick in the rotation before relegating him to the bullpen.


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  1. DJ Lemeddardhieu

    And the Dodgers just won the World Series, Derek. They got the big superstar bat they needed. The Sox get to rebuild and hurt us at the same time. Even if we do get to the WS there’s no way we can beat the Dodgers now. Everybody jumping for joy will change their tune come late October. Mookie was no threat on the Sox. We were going to win the division anyway.

  2. Dani

    Imagine the Yanks trading Aaron Judge in his last arbitration year + a big contract of a still pretty decent player for Alex Verdugo … I’d throw my PC out the window XD

  3. Great deal for the Boston. One year of Betts at his full $27 million end of arbitration value landed them 5 years of a really good and cheap young outfielder and a solid starting pitching prospect. Plus the $10 million or so they save on the CBT. They weren’t going anywhere fast and they might have just shaved a nice chunk of time off their inevitable rebuild / restructure.

    Covering roughly half of Price’s salary means that aspect of the deal is basically neutral. The remaining three years of his contract are probably worth about what the Dodgers will pay him after Boston’s contribution. In essence, the Dodgers are on the hook for J.A. Happ money for a pitcher who will soon turn into J.A. Happ. The Sox don’t need a pitcher like Price right now, and he’s at least somewhat useful to the Dodgers for a year or two of this decline phase.

    In terms of sheer value, the Dodgers got fleeced but they are in full win now mode so maybe it works out for them. If they win a World Series they will be happy, even if Verdugo becomes a star in Boston,

    The Twins are also going for it – good for them. We’ll put a beating on them in the Division Series again anyway.

    • Kevin J Schappert

      Lol. Price has been injured but is faaarr better than Crappy. Excellent deal for LA.

      • Brian

        Price is good, just a little cantankerous with the media. Which the Boston media just ate up. So if he got injured or had a bad game, they knew they could get gold for it. He will be better in LA than in Boston because he’ll like pitch at least half his games between LA, SF, and SD, all good pitchers parks.

    • Brian

      it’s laughable because this is the kind of move Minnesota or Pittsburgh makes. Not the Boston freaking Red Sox. Not a big market team. Not a team 1 year removed from an historic world series winning season with that team pretty much intact. They are worse both this season, and in future seasons because of this. Oh, and ticket prices went up again at Fenway. There was no indication that Mookie wouldn’t have resigned after this season, just that he wasn’t going to sign an extension with a hometown discount before hitting free agency. I hope New York now signs him for 2021 to play 2B again.

      • How are they worse in future seasons because of this? They only had control of Betts through 2020, and Price was way overpaid, and is at the age where he will rapidly decline. Plus they now have a young outfielder who will put up 3 or 4 WAR a year for his next 5 (prime) years. They are MUCH better off. Even if you are assuming they sign Betts to a long term contract they would be paying him $35 to $40 million per year, stuck perpetually over the CBT threshold, and not in a position to build the young core they need to become relevant again. This was a best case scenario for Boston given the situation their former GM put them in.

    • Mungo

      Ehh. Great deal for the Red Sox? No. Dodgers fleeced? No.

      The Red Sox just traded away a generational talent, arguably the second best player in the game who has averaged over 8.5 WAR the last four seasons, has an MVP, and was part of a Red Sox world championship one year ago. He has 42 WAR for his career already. Jim Rice barely had more than that for his entire career! Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski and Mookie Betts are the three best young players to come out of the Red Sox system in the past 80 years. (Hat tip to Fred Lynn). The Red Sox just salary dumped him by attaching David Price to the deal and didn’t get back anywhere near full value. Verdugo? He has minimal power in a game now driven by power and has a 107 OPS+ to date. He’s pretty fungible. A 26-year-old, face-of-the-franchise was just shipped to LA for “payroll flexibility” from one of the wealthiest teams in the sport, with an owner who could by the Steinbrenners.

      The Dodgers just acquired an 8 WAR player, gave up none of their prospects, and also added a solid lefty in Price who the Red Sox are paying half the salary. They also didn’t go over the luxury tax threshold, which means they have payroll flexibility to sign Mookie if they so desire. A big win for the Dodgers.

  4. RetroRob

    I would like to thank the Boston Red Sox for increasing the Yankees chances of winning the World Series this coming season.. One of the Yankees main competitors, the Red Sox, have been weakened, and while facing Mookie Betts in the World Series if both the Yankees and the Dodgers make it to the final dance in 2021 is not desirable, it’s more than countered by the Yankees getting to face David Price. That’s probably two wins for the Yankees right there! I kid. I think.

    What a disaster. MLB has created a system where one of the richest teams in the games felt the need to trade away one of the top few players in the game, the league’s MVP just a season back, the face of the franchise, and someone who should have been on the Red Sox for the next 10-15 years. Imagine the Yankees trading Derek Jeter away after the 2000 season, or the Red Sox trading away Carl Yastrzemski in 1966, the year before he wins the triple crown. Baseball: 2020.

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