The Mookie Betts Drama is Finally Behind Us
THIS. This is exactly why I don’t like to get caught up in speculation and rumors when it comes to the off season trading and free agent signings. The 2019 season hadn’t even ended, and Mookie Betts was still contracted with the Red Sox through the 2020 season, but the rumor mill was a big ol’ mess of things like how Mookie Betts would fit in with each team or who would end up with him. So when news broke on Tuesday evening that Mookie Betts and David Price had been traded in a three team deal with the Dodgers and Twins… well… I thought it was safe to finally speak up about it.
Except it wasn’t.
After hearing all of the analysis from trainers, fans, commentators, bloggers, old ladies in grocery stores, and anyone else that had an opinion on The Red Sox started getting cold feet about the trade that saw them unloading (half of) David Price’s ridiculously large mistake of a contract and getting some players of value in return for Betts, knowing that he could be signing elsewhere after the 2020 season. Their reason was that they were uneasy about being able to get Twins prospect Brusdar Graterol into their starting rotation after reviewing medical history. But in actuality, they probably started thinking they weren’t getting enough for a star like Betts.
With this deal, the Red Sox would be getting two players in return for someone that may or may not have left them at the end of the season anyway. They also would be freeing up a lot of payroll, which would be putting them under the luxury tax threshold, also allowing them to sign some other guys that could help them out down the road. Not many teams would be willing to take on two giant salaries in Betts and Price, AND give you multiple propsects or big names in return for what will likely be a rental player (as Betts would be).
Graterol is just 21 years old. He’s already had (and rehabbed from) Tommy John surgery. A pitcher who is throwing 102 mph fastballs that already recovered from Tommy John is going to be of value to a team that just dumped the underperforming David Price and an angry and slumping Rick Porcello. Whether he has the gas to be an effective starter after a shoulder injury in 2019 that kept him out for a few weeks remains to be seen – but teams run the risk of a bust of a deal all.the.time. There’s been no indication that he’s not healthy, and his agent, Scott Boras (seriously, who DOESN’T Boras represent??) says there’s no medical reason this trade should be held up, and that Graterol is healthy and ready to go.
But on Friday and Saturday, the Red Sox were stalling and the rumor mill started buzzing yet again with all sorts of ways the deal might go sideways. Would the trade happen at all? Or would it happen without the Twins, requiring the Dodgers to pony up some more prospects? Keep the Twins in it, but then have them give up more prospects or even someone on their tight-knit Bomba Squad? Perhaps an outfielder like Eddie Rosario?
Well rest easy, my friends. The deal finally happened and the Red Sox’s cold feet (footed?) tantrum worked out for them. The players in the initial trade are still going where they were initially reported to be going, but there are some additional names in the mix now:
- Betts and Price are heading to Los Angeles, with Boston still on the hook for half of the $96 million left in Price’s contract
- Boston is still getting Alex Verdugo, along with (new to the deal) shortstop Jeter Downs and catcher Connor Wong from the Dodgers
- Minnesota is still getting Kenta Maeda and cash in a now-separate deal with the Dodgers for Brusdar Graterol and prospect outfielder Luke Raley. Minnesota will also be giving up the 67th pick in the draft.
- The deal that was on hold between the Angels and Dodgers sending Joc Pederson to Anaheim and Luis Rengifo to Dodger Stadium can now finally happen. The Angels are also getting pitcher Ross Stripling and prospect Andy Pages.
Did you follow all of that? It’s ok if you didn’t. What matters is that the guys involved in this debacle can finally hop on the correct flights to their designated spring training facilities.
<Breathes a sigh of relief>