Over the weekend, the Mookie Betts three-team megatrade looked doomed to fail when the Boston Red Sox took an exception to the medical records of Minnesota Twins pitcher Brusdar Graterol. However, as reported on Sunday, the Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers were able to come to new terms thanks to both parties’ desperation to achieve their respective goals. Boston’s goal was payroll reduction, while LA was looking to add a second MVP winner to the lineup after winning seven straight NL West division titles without a World Series trophy.
BREAKING: The trade that will send Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers has been agreed upon, sources tell ESPN. Outfielder Alex Verdugo and shortstop Jeter Downs are among those who will go to the Boston Red Sox.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 9, 2020
In addition to Betts, the Dodgers will also acquire veteran starter David Price.
In the meantime, with pitchers and catchers due to report to Spring Training today, the Red Sox have yet to name a new manager after firing Álex Cora, who was implicated in #AstrosCheat. The New York Mets currently own the reputation of being MLB’s biggest shitshow franchise, yet they were quickly able to name a new manager to replace Carlos Beltrán, who was originally set to take over the helm in 2020 but was also caught up in the Astros cheating scandal.
MLB has also yet to deliver a final report on the Red Sox’s reported electronic cheating during their 2018 championship season, so this issue will linger for the front office as Spring Training commences.
As I mentioned last week, the trade surrenders Boston’s biggest star in return for a player who was worth four fewer wins above replacement in 2019 along with prospects who may never make a major-league appearance. This will not help the Red Sox return to contention after winning only 84 games last year, 12 fewer than the Tampa Bay Rays, who took the second Wild Card slot in the American League.
Other than reducing payroll below the competitive balance threshold, it’s not clear what Boston’s strategy is for 2020 and beyond – or if there even is a strategy. Will they look to retool and return to the playoffs in the near future or will the team be torn down? The balance of power in the AL East has shifted, and the other teams in the division need to make an effort to capitalize on Boston’s weakened position.
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