Mookie Betts and the Red Sox agreed on a one-year deal worth $27 million dollars today, finalizing this deal will confirm that arbitration will be avoided. This is an arbitration deal record, the previous highest deal that was made to avoid arbitration was last year when Nolan Arenado and the Rockies agreed to a $26 million dollar deal.
Ironically enough, both Arenado and Betts have been rumored to be traded before spring training begins. So far, there have only been rumors surrounding both these guys and nothing substantial has developed. I would be shocked if both players were on their current teams when spring training gets going.
Betts had another solid season in 2019, he batted .295 with 29 home runs and had 80 RBI’s, in addition, he led the American League with 135 runs scored. Betts is a four-time all star with a lifetime average of .301 an OBP of .374 and has averaged 28 home runs, 96 RBI’s and 125 runs scored in his big-league career. He had his most dominant season in 2018 when he batted .346 and hit 32 home runs winning the MVP of the league and was a World Series Champion. Betts does so much more than just hit, he has won four consecutive gold glove awards and don’t forget he plays in Fenway Park one of the most difficult outfields to navigate in all of baseball.
If you ask anyone who is an avid baseball watcher and has the time to check in on all the teams, Betts is one of the top five position players in the Major Leagues. There’s no arguing that he is a top five guy and I would go as far as to say that he is the second-best player in all of baseball behind Mike Trout.
There are teams that would literally give up the farm for Betts and then hope to re-sign him to a long-term deal, he would be worth 30 million a year easily. The Dodgers and Red Sox have been the hottest rumor of the trade talks, the Sox are looking to get Betts and David Price off their books, and it appears they need to act quickly on Betts to get some value out of him. The last thing the Sox want to do is to play this whole season, not trade Betts and then lose him in free agency, not getting anything in return. That would be a colossal mistake by Boston’s new front office team. The deal with the Dodgers would make sense because LA is chock full of assets and they can handle the contract of Betts and Price if they Red Sox choose to ship them both off to the same team. Dodger fans would rejoice and the prospects that the Red Sox would receive (Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, Keibert Ruiz, Will Smith and a potential veteran guy like Joc Pederson) would put the Sox in a good spot to compete right away and plan for the future with a new nucleus of young talent.
I would believe that it is highly unlikely the Sox would trade Betts to any American League team and anyone inside the division would be completely off limits, the Yankees would be the only team who would or could take on that contract and there is zero chance of the Sox sending Betts there. So, if the American League is off limits, we need to start focusing in on potential trade partners. The Dodgers would be the clear-cut favorite but you would also have to consider teams like the Cardinals, Giants, Phillies and potentially the Mets. The problem with those teams is, do they have enough assets to get that type of deal done and would Betts consider signing long term with that team? I don’t think any team is going to treat Betts like a rental player for one season because the Red Sox are going to demand so much in return. If a trade gets done, there would have to be a solid belief that Betts would sign an extension immediately. If there is no belief in that and Betts wants to test the free agent waters, the Red Sox will have to lower their asking price or roll the dice on losing Betts for absolutely nothing at the end of the year. The right thing for the Red Sox to do is to work out a deal with the Dodgers. The Dodgers need to suck it up and cut ties with these awesome prospects they have been holding onto. It seems that Gavin Lux is off limits according to all reports but aside from him the Red Sox should have their pick out of three/four prospects and veterans from the following names:
Corey Seager – SS
Keibert Ruiz – C Dodgers #3 prospect
Will Smith – Entering first full season, Catcher
Tony Gonsolin – RHP, Dodgers #6 prospect
Dustin May – RHP Dodgers #2 prospect
Josiah Gray – RHP Dodgers #4 prospect
Alex Verdugo – OF
Joc Pederson – OF
A.J. Pollock – OF
This deal would get both teams to where they want to go immediately. Although spring training is rapidly approaching, we still have a lot of opportunities for the hot stove to get turned all the way up as trades throughout the league begin to materialize.