On February 4 it was reported that the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers had agreed on a blockbuster deal that would send both outfielder Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price to Los Angeles. This trade is said to be part of the Red Sox salary dump as they look to get under the $208 million competitive balance tax threshold.
The deal was first billed as a three-way trade between the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Minnesota Twins. Through this deal, the Dodgers would send a starting pitcher to the Twins in exchange for a pitching prospect, Brusdar Graterol who would be sent to the Red Sox. Outfielder Alex Verdugo would be sent from the Dodgers to the Red Sox as well.
This deal fell through on February 7 when it was revealed that the Red Sox had concerns with the medical results of Graterol. To mediate this, the Red Sox asked for additional prospects or cash considerations, a request which was denied by the Twins. On February 8, it was reported that the Twins had backed out of the deal leaving the Dodgers and Red Sox to renegotiate.
The modified deal was finalized late February 9 when it was announced that the Dodgers would receive both Betts and Price from the Red Sox in return for outfielder Alex Verdugo, short stop Jeter Downs, and catcher Connor Wong. Neither Downs nor Wong have any experience in the majors, however, they both have respectable stats in the minors.
Alex Verdugo made his MLB debut with the Dodgers in September 2017 although he spent the majority of the 2018 season in the Minor Leagues. He was again called up in 2019 for opening day batting .294 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs on the season.
Mookie Betts has been with the Red Sox organization since 2011 when he was selected in the 5th round of the MLB draft. He played his first major league game on June 29, 2014 against the Yankees. During his time with the Red Sox, he has recorded a .301 batting average with 139 home runs and 470 runs batted in. He is a four time All-Star, having been named every year since 2016.
Betts’ best season so far has been his MVP winning 2018 season. During this incredible season, he led the majors with a .345 batting average and 129 runs scored. In part to his performance, the Red Sox would go on to win 108 games as well defeat the Dodgers 4-1 in the World Series. After the season, Betts was awarded with his third Golden Glove, an award given to players who have shown superior fielding performance. Additionally, Betts was named the AL MVP having received 28 out of the 30 total first place votes. Although his 2019 season was not as dominant as his 2018 performance, he was still selected as an All-Star and received his fourth Golden Glove. He finished this season with a .295 average with 29 home runs and 80 RBIs.
David Price has been a Red Sox since 2016 and in that time has posted a 3.84 ERA over 103 games played. He was dominant through the Red Sox 2018 post season run and was announced as the AL Comeback Player of the Year. The 2019 season was a different story for Price having several stints on the Injured List and finishing with a disappointing 4.28 ERA.
Betts is expected to enter free agency after this upcoming season and will likely seek a contract upwards of $400 million. In January, the Red Sox signed a record breaking $27 million arbitration contract with Betts securing him for one more season. Should this deal go through the Dodgers they will assume that contract. Betts has been eager to test free agency and has reportedly turned down multiple contracts from the Red Sox in years prior. Price, on the other hand is still under contract with the Red Sox and will received $96 million in the next three years. As per this trade, the Red Sox will continue to pay half of Price’s contract should he go to the Dodgers.