It’s been a pretty brutal offseason for the Dodgers and their fans, to say the least.
First, it came out that the Astros cheated during their 2017 World Series run, a run that included beating the Dodgers in seven games to win it all. Next, the Dodgers lost out on Gerrit Cole, the biggest prize on the free-agent market. Shortly after, they learned that Anthony Rendon didn’t want to be a part of the “Hollywood Lifestyle”.
With the offseason slowly coming to a close, it looked as if the Dodgers would head into spring training with their biggest offseason moves being the acquisitions of Blake Treinen and Alex Wood.
For months, the front office was scrutinized for not getting the job done. They faced backlash for not signing the biggest names on the free-agent market, or trading for guys like Francisco Lindor. Andrew Friedman, the President of Baseball Operations for LA, was booed at fan fest.
And then, a light at the end of the tunnel shined oh so brightly.
On February 4 at around 6 p.m. PT, the Dodgers did what nobody expected them to actually do. After a long, painful offseason, the Dodgers were kings of the baseball world. After rumors circulated for months, they finally sealed the deal, and acquired arguably the second best player in the game of baseball, Mookie Betts.
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.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 5, 2020
In addition, the Dodgers also acquired former Cy Young Award winner David Price in the deal.
It was then later announced that it would become a three-team deal, with the Minnesota Twins getting involved. The Dodgers would get Betts and Price, the Twins would get Kenta Maeda from LA, and the Red Sox would get Alex Verdugo, along with Brusdar Graterol, a top 100 prospect, from the Twins.
Things got even crazier shortly after, as it was announced that the Dodgers had a separate deal in place with the Angels, that would send Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling to Anaheim in exchange for Luis Rengifo and other prospects, a deal that would help LA stay under the luxury tax.
The Dodgers just acquired the second best player in baseball, for essentially nothing. Sure, losing those four players hurt, but they got Mookie Betts for crying out loud. It’s not every day you can just add the second best player to your team.
The Dodgers took a team that won 106 games in 2019, made them much better, and didn’t even touch their farm system to do it.
It seemed too good to be true. And maybe, that’s because it was.
About 14 hours or so passed, and the deal hadn’t been made official yet. Nobody knew exactly why, but there was definitely some suspicion as to what the holdup was. Then, Ken Rosenthal posted an article to The Athletic, saying that there was a slight problem.
The Red Sox, after viewing the medical records of Twins right-hander Brusdar Graterol, projected him more as a reliever than as a starter, according to sources involved with the discussions. As a result of that valuation, the Sox might ask for an additional player and/or money to bridge the gap, though it is unclear whether the player would come from the Twins or Dodgers, sources said.
All of a sudden, the trade that seemed like a 100 percent done deal, had some questions. It seemed okay, though. Numerous reporters were saying that the deal would still happen, that the sides were working towards finding a deal.
That was Wednesday.
Today is Saturday, and Mookie Betts is still a member of the Boston Red Sox.
What’s transpired over the last few days has been ugly, and not a good look for baseball. A deal hasn’t been resolved, and it honestly doesn’t look like there is one close on the horizon.
The Red Sox apparently had no clue that Graterol was projected to be a reliever. After doing some intense searching yesterday, it took me about two minutes to find multiple articles on Google, in which MLB.com and The Tribune wrote about Graterol being a reliever for the Twins moving forward.
So, either the Red Sox had zero idea about this and didn’t do any research... or, they heard and saw the backlash from the deal, and are trying to get an additional piece from either the Twins or the Dodgers. Now, I don’t think the Red Sox would do something like that. Back out of a deal because of something they messed up on? That would be pretty bad. Maybe they truly thought Graterol would be a starter for them. But like I said, the entire country knew he was expected to be a reliever, and you’re telling me the Red Sox didn’t?
On Friday, Jon Heyman reported that the Red Sox want an additional top 10 prospect from Minnesota.
Although it would be great for the Twins to help out and add another highly-touted prospect, why should they? I love Maeda as much as any Dodgers fan, but he is certainly not worth TWO top 10 prospects from an organization. Therefore, I’m not shocked the Twins are standing their ground.
It’s gotten bad. Not only are fans across baseball annoyed, the MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark issued a public statement, voicing his frustration with how this has been handled.
He’s completely right. This sucks for all the players involved with not only the Betts trade, but the Angels trade as well. For days, they’ve dealt with uncertainty as to what’s happening, and what their future looks like. A deal needs to be done.
It appears the Red Sox are being selfish, and unfortunately, the Dodgers need to give in, and do whatever it takes to make this trade happen.
Let’s be real, they fleeced Boston, no other way around it. They got one of the best players in the game, AND they got the Sox to pay half of Price’s remaining contract. The fact they gave up so little was an absolute steal. Now, they need to bite the bullet, and throw in whatever it takes to push the deal through.
According to multiple reports, there are different ways this trade can go through. Rosenthal reported that the Twins can back out of the deal, and it will just be between the Dodgers and the Red Sox. He also reported that maybe a different third team could get involved. Whether or not it turns into a two-team trade, or whether or not it remains the proposed three-teamer, the Dodgers need to step up.
They’ll likely have to add a prospect to get the deal done. Now, no way should they have to part ways with anyone in their top 5 after this, but honestly, who knows what it’ll take to sweeten the deal for Boston. LA should try and offer Tony Gonsolin, or maybe a Jeter Downs in the deal. However, they should stand their ground, and not be forced to part ways with more than one prospect.
Yes, it would be unfair for LA to attach a prospect after the trade was announced, but to be honest, it would still be a steal of a trade for them. Many predicted they’d part with a player or two in their farm system anyway, so if they’re able to hold onto their top guys, it would be a win.
Again, I see no way the Twins attach a top prospect, so this likely falls on the Dodgers’ willingness to make the deal happen. I would assume attaching either Gonsolin or Downs would be enough to push the deal through.
Then again, we don’t know exactly what’s going on from Boston’s side, so they could potentially ask for more.
Maybe the Dodgers could avoid sending a prospect, and offer to take on more of Price’s salary. As I mentioned earlier, it was reported that the Red Sox will still be paying half, which means they’ll be sending LA around $45-50 million. Instead, maybe they can send LA only about $25-30 million, and the Dodgers can save the Red Sox even more money.
Obviously, taking on more money will hurt LA, so maybe they work out another deal with another team where they can attach A.J. Pollock’s contract, or some deal that will help shed salary.
Or, here’s a wild idea, the Dodgers go OVER the luxury tax, and pay the price to do so. Because let’s be blunt, they can easily afford to.
So, that’s where we currently stand. It’s Saturday morning, and it doesn’t look like Betts is anywhere close to becoming a Dodger. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training within the next week, and this is definitely something the three clubs involved don’t want looming over their heads.
The trade happened, but there is clearly something the Red Sox don’t like about it. Whatever the case may be, someone needs to step up, and I think it will probably have to be the Dodgers.
If the deal doesn’t go through, it will suck, but at the end of the day, the Dodgers will still be division favorites, and likely the National League favorites as well. No, they don’t need Betts, but he would clearly make them arguably the best team in all of baseball.
At this point, we’re just going to have to wait it out and see what happens. Hopefully things get resolved, and all the pieces go where they were supposed to.
And hopefully for the Dodgers, they get the Hollywood ending they ever so desperately deserve.