David D’Annibale, Contributing Writer |
The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired former MVP outfielder Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price from the Boston Red Soxs and pitcher Brusdar Graterol from the Minnesota Twins in two separate trades over the last few weeks.
The trade was in jeopardy of falling through entirely after the Red Sox were concerned about the health of Graterol. However, the Dodgers were able to still receive Betts and Price by doing separate deals with both the Twins and Red Sox. In the trade with the Red Sox, the Dodgers sent Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong. In exchange the Dodgers received Betts and Price. Also, the Dodgers will receive cash from the Red Soxs. In the deal with the Twins, the Dodgers will receive Brusdar Graterol in exchange for pitcher Kenta Maeda, catcher Jair Camargo and cash. The Twins will benefit greatly since starting pitching was one of their weaknesses in the 2019 season. With the trade officially finalized, the Dodgers have improved their odds to make it back to the 2020 World Series after being eliminated by the Washington Nationals in the division round of the postseason.
After acquiring 27-year-old Mookie Betts, the Dodgers now have two MVP caliber players in their line up if first basemen Cody Bellinger can repeat his phenomenal 2019 season performance. Last season, Betts’ stats were slightly down from his MVP season. Last season his batting average dropped from .346 to .295. Betts’ RBIs stayed the same at 80 but homeruns dropped from 32 to 29. Hitting in a stacked Dodgers lineup could help benefit him in the long term. In addition, the Dodgers add Price to one of the top rotations in the league featuring Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler. Changing teams might be what Price needs to rebound after a tough 2019 season, in which he went 7-5 with an ERA of 4.28. The Dodgers will open the season as the favorites to represent the National League in this year’s World Series.
The Red Sox enter the 2020 season without one of their star players. The loss of Betts will hurt the Red Sox in the long term. His replacement will likely be Verdugo, who last season Verdugo batted .294 with 12 home runs and 44 runs batted in. Verdugo will now receive more playing time and won’t have to battle for a spot in a crowded outfield. Playing for Boston will give him more opportunities to succeed than in Los Angeles. The reason the Red Sox finally decided to unload Betts and Price was over money issues. Mookie was seeking a contract of over 400 million dollars. The Red Sox offered Betts a contract close to 300 million dollars, but this offer was rejected. Also, Price is still owed 96 million over the next three seasons. The only option for the Red Sox was to include both in a trade together to dump salary in order to be under MLB’s luxury tax. The Red Sox will have a tough road ahead of them as they will have to battle with the Yankees and Rays all season.