February 4, 2020

Red Sox Trade Betts And Price To Dodgers In Three-Team Deal

Chaim Bloom has pulled the trigger - and Mookie Betts is now a Los Angeles Dodger.

The Red Sox's Chief Baseball Officer traded Betts and David Price to the Dodgers on Tuesday evening as part of a three-team deal. Boston will be receiving outfielder Alex Verdugo (from the Dodgers) and right-handed pitcher Brusdar Graterol (from the Twins).
Dodgers get Mookie Betts, David Price, cash from Red Sox ($50 million?)
Red Sox get Alex Verdugo, Brusdar Graterol
Twins get Kenta Maeda

This is both horrible (I wanted to watch #FeatsofMookie in Boston for the next 10+ years) and completely understandable (Betts turned down 10/300 a year ago, paying him $35 million per season until he is 40 is unwise and getting under the CBT in 2020 will save the team a shitton of dough, possibly $100 million over three years).

Waiting until next summer's trade deadline to trade Betts would not get the team under the CBT. And there are plenty of unknowns with that scenario, too. Perhaps the Red Sox are in contention or the Dodgers are flying high in the NL West and offer less tantalizing players. Bloom also avoided having Price around when his 10/5 rights kicked in.

Goodbye, Mookie Fun Fact: Betts had 10.9 WAR in 2018. The Dodgers have been in the National League for 130 years and have never had a 10 WAR player. ... Jackie Robinson had 9.7 in 1951. Robinson (1949) and Adrian Beltre (2004) had 9.6.

Considering everyone in baseball knew Bloom had to deal Betts before (or early in) spring training, he got a pretty damn good return. And as I understand it, the 2020 payroll is now $42 million lighter ($27 Betts and $15.5 Price). And the Dodgers are guaranteed only one year of Mookie.

The Red Sox do not play the Dodgers in 2020.

Matt Collins, Over The Monster:
Verdugo is a hit-tool first kind of prospect who hasn't really hit for much power over his career. He's 23 years old and is under team control for five more years. Graterol is a big right-handed pitcher [21 years old] with a huge fastball and a good breaking ball. There's question about the development of his changeup and his body, which leads some to believe he will end up in the bullpen long-term. There's still a real chance he sticks as a starter, though, and there's a high ceiling if he can reach it.
Alex Speier, Boston Globe:
Graterol has huge velo, so an obvious chance at plus or plus-plus fastball, a chance for a plus slider, and a functional changeup. One evaluator sees him as having the ceiling of a starter who could be a No. 3 or better; and there's a floor of a late-innings arm or opener.
Rob Bradford, WEEI:
The 23-year-old Verdugo played in 106 games for the Dodgers last season, primarily manning center field. A lefty hitter, he finished 2019 with a .294 batting average and .817 OPS along with 12 homers. ... Graterol dominated the minors before making his major league debut with Minnesota in 2019, appearing in 10 relief outings. He struck out 10 in 9.2 innings, consistingly showing a 100 mph sinker.
Before 2019, Baseball Prospectus ranked Graterol as the #33 prospect in MLB and Twins Daily described him as the Twins' "best pitching prospect" and "flamethrowing" with "triple digit heat". ... FanGraphs now lists Graterol as the Red Sox #1 prospect.

Jeff Passan, ESPN, 9:10 PM (ET):
BREAKING: The Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to a deal with the Boston Red Sox that would send star outfielder Mookie Betts and starter David Price to the Dodgers, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Deal is pending medical reviews.
Alex Speier, Boston Globe, 9:15 PM:
In the proposed deal, Alex Verdugo and another player (from a third team) would go to the Red Sox.
Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic, 9:26 PM:
Joc Pederson would go from #Dodgers to #Angels if blockbuster is completed, source tells The Athletic.
Joel Sherman, New York Post, 9:28 PM:
Like others hearing Alex Verdugo is part of this trade from the #Dodgers. LAD didn’t want to move Dustin May as part of this, but 1 source said he heard May is part of it. Another says the #Twins are involved.
Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic, 9:40 PM:
#Dodgers sending RHP Kenta Maeda to #MNTwins for RHP Brusdar Graterol, who will be part of package going to #RedSox, source tells The Athletic.
SoSHer bankshot1:
So if i understand this correctly, the take away is we helped improve the Twins chances of beating the Yankees in the ALDS with some more starting pitching, (right) and then the LAD's chances of beating the Ys in the Series.
Okay, here are some serious, logical observations from SoSH:

1. Mookie is not Yaz. Yaz did not rebuff consistent team efforts to sign him to a long-term contract. Mookie probably doesn't want to re-sign with the Red Sox, and the Red Sox couldn't and shouldn't afford his contract demands.
2. This isn't really about saving John Henry's money. This is about re-setting the Red Sox payroll to avoid long-term luxury tax and draft penalties that hamstring the team's future competitiveness.
3. Jettisoning Price has to be considered a positive. While he may be a great teammate, he's a distraction and a public-relations albatross in the Boston media market.
4. Two major league ready prospects with nearly a decade of control between them strike me as a decent haul for 1 year of an un-resign-able Mookie and a guy none of us should be sad to see go.
5. Payroll flexibility! Bloom just undid all of Dombrowski's subpar payroll management, and now has a much cleaner slate to work with going forward.
Lost count of the number of times Bloom made deals for TB that initially were head scratchers...more often than not, they turned out to work in Rays favor. He's not immune to making a bad deal, but I've watched him from day one in TB and he knows what he is doing. Let's check back in a few years and see where we stand.
Here's what Bloom did: In an off-season where every trade rumor about Betts started with a caveat that the other team didn't want to trade any of their top tier prospects, specifically with SD not wanting to move anyone considered a top 50 prospect nationally, Bloom got Verdugo, an outfielder ranked #35 by BA and MLB and #19 by BP to start last season, and Graterol, an SP/RP ranked #55/#68/#33 by the same publications to start last season. Neither one did anything to meaningfully diminish their prospect status, other than Verdugo barely passing one year of service time.

Verdugo is 23 with 5 years of control. Graterol is 21 and only has a few weeks of service time, plus options remaining.

Losing Betts sucks. He's an all-timer, as likely an HOFer as anyone in the game today other than Trout, but he made it real clear he was going to test the market.

The Sox needed to get under the cap this off-season or lock themselves into a pain spiral. ... Solving that problem while getting the next best thing to a Mookie Betts to replace Betts and a fireballing pitcher who has starter's upside but if nothing else has a floor of late game shutdown guy is, overall, pretty damn good. ...

The argument can even be made that the Sox are better positioned to pursue signing Betts next year because of this. They'll reset the cap, have half of Price's deal off the books, and will open up an OF spot when Bradley hits FA this winter (not to mention freeing up $11M).


accudart said...

I hate losing Betts but smart move fore Sox. And didn't I see it also saves 100 in Lux tax?

David Cho said...

I will Verdugo, but oh yes!

allan said...

Baseball America:
Brusdar Graterol, Age 21
Graterol, the No. 60 prospect on the BA Top 100, immediately becomes the hardest thrower in the Red Sox organization. He averaged 99 mph in the majors last September and postseason after receiving a big league callup. His fastball is hard and heavy. He throws more sinkers than four-seamers up in the zone. His 88-90 mph slider needs to get a little more consistent, but it has a chance to give him a pair of plus pitches thanks to how hard it is thrown. Graterol missed time last year with a sore pitching shoulder, but his velocity was fine when he returned and he pitched his way onto the Twins postseason roster. Minnesota had already announced that he would pitch in the team's bullpen to start 2020, but the Red Sox will have a decision to make. Graterol does have some effort to his delivery, but he throws strikes with average control and he has a big frame. His upside will become higher if he can throw 150+ innings as a starter, and his likelihood of being at least a useful reliever is quite high.

allan said...

And didn't I see it also saves 100 in Lux tax?

More like $75 overall, I think. But about $42 next year.

Zenslinger said...

Sucks, but it's a good trade. Gratified by the return we got. Verdugo hit .294/.342/.475 in a little more than half a season with the Dodgers. 12 HR, 22 2B, 2 3B. A full season there is like 18-20 HR, 35+ doubles. The pitcher's already the best prospect we have. (I am paraphrasing MLB Trade Rumors). And payroll reset issue solved. No immediate excitement (other than the hope that Verdugo will be Benintendi II this season), but seems to be a very well executed "change of direction" trade -- almost as surprising and direction-changing as the Nick Punto trade in 2012 (though that was during the season).

GK said...

Lastnight on ESPN.com, I read that Mookie was drafted by the Sox in 2001 ( he was drafted in 2011). Also this headline on a different article:

'The '20s are going to be the Dodgers' decade': L.A. starts new chapter with Mookie Betts trade

Everyone understands the '20s as the 1920's. Except of course the 10-22 demographic who will think that the 1920's dont exist. I say this is ridiculous. No, I am not a 100 year old. I dont have any memory of the '70s.