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Betts Trade Opens Window for Blue Jays

On Tuesday evening, the Boston Red Sox finally consummated their long-rumored desire to trade their star outfielder Mookie Betts to dump salary. Betts and veteran starting pitcher David Price were dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a reported three-team trade involving the Minnesota Twins.

The Dodgers also are reportedly sending Joc Pederson to the Los Angeles Angels.

Betts is the Red Sox’ best player and the centerpiece of their 2018 championship team. He has amassed 37.2 fWAR over a six-year MLB career. Boston failed to qualify for the postseason in 2019 thanks to a regression in their overall team performance from their 2018 numbers in both batting and pitching.

Alex Verdugo was only worth 2.2 fWAR in 2019 compared to Betts’s 6.6, which makes the deal a significant downgrade for the Sox. This means they will be less of a threat in the AL East. The New York Yankees will look to remain atop the standings after 103 regular season wins in 2019, but the other teams in the division will have a better chance to compete. Betts will be out of the American League entirely and the Jays will not face him in interleague play in 2020. The Toronto Blue Jays’ decision to sign top free agent Hyun-Jin Ryu as well as other experienced starting pitchers like Chase Anderson and Tanner Roark is now looking especially prescient.

The upgrade of the starting rotation will certainly make the Jays more competitive in 2020. If the Jays want to take aim at a Wild Card spot, the 2019 “Royal Rookies” (Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio, all sons of former MLB players) will need to improve on their first-year production. If Toronto can remain in the hunt come trade deadline season, I believe they should be aggressive “buyers” on the market and look for a big bat or another lockdown reliever as a setup man/backup for closer Ken Giles.

Thanks to the new acquisitions and the Red Sox’s decision to become less competitive, 2020 should be a turnaround year for the Blue Jays. Toronto fans should be excited about the team’s prospects in the coming season.

Featured Image: Dan Hanscom / Shutterstock.com

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