With the Winter Meetings beginning next week, Andrew Friedman and company will surely be looking to improve the Dodgers in any way possible. One name to keep an eye on is Red Sox star Mookie Betts, who LA has recently been linked to.
A trade for Betts could make a lot of sense for both teams.
From the Red Sox standpoint, they are already over the luxury tax threshold for 2020, something owner John Henry has gone on the record saying he wants to avoid. Between the bad contracts of David Price, Nate Eovaldi, and Dustin Pedroia, along with the premier talents of J.D. Martinez, Chris Sale, and Xander Bogaerts being paid handsomely, Boston’s best way to shed payroll would be to trade Mookie Betts.
Betts will be a free agent next winter, and with the Red Sox tied up to all the contracts listed above, it seems unlikely they’ll be able to re-sign him. Combine this with their desire to cut costs for this coming season, and he is a prime trade candidate.
— NESN (@NESN) September 25, 2019
Betts, 27, is one of the best outfielders in the league, showing an ability to contribute with both his bat and glove. Over the past five seasons, he has remained durable and been a model of consistency, accumulating 35.4 fWAR.
— MLB (@MLB) May 27, 2019
This is where the Dodgers step in.
The reason Los Angeles makes for such a good trade partner is that they have an abundance of what the Red Sox need: young, cost-controlled pieces who can contribute immediately. Boston has far too much talent to engage in a full on rebuild, so they need cheap youth to remain competitive while saving the team money.
As we saw with the Felipe Vazquez negotiations, Gavin Lux and Dustin May are most likely off limits. However, names such as Alex Verdugo, Tony Gonsolin, Keibert Ruiz, DJ Peters, Edwin Rios, and Dennis Santana could all be had in the right trade. A more detailed breakdown of which prospects could be traded can be seen here.
Just for kicks, I loaded up Out of the Park Baseball 20’s simulator engine, to see what package the AI version of new Red Sox Chairman Chaim Bloom would take for Mookie Betts. The result was quite interesting.
This is a deal that works well for both teams. Dodgers lose depth and a collection of promising young players, but add a bonafide superstar to pair in the outfield along with Cody Bellinger. From the Red Sox perspective, they dip under the luxury tax, while still maintaining the ability to contend next year.
This is how a Mookie Betts trade could benefit both teams. If the Red Sox are indeed willing to move Betts, the ball will be in Andrew Friedman’s court.