According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Red Sox have agreed to trade OF Mookie Betts and LHP David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers will trade OF Alex Verdugo, C Connor Wong, and SS Jeter Downs back to Boston as part of the deal.
As part of separate deals, Kenta Maeda and $10M will be heading from the Dodgers to the Twins, with RHP Brusdar Graterol and a competitive balance pick headed to Los Angeles. The Dodgers will also trade OF Joc Pederson and RHP Ross Stripling to the Angels for IF Luis Rengifo and two prospects.
Mookie Betts, the 2018 American League MVP, is one of the best players in baseball, putting up over 4.8 fWAR each of the past five seasons. Only Mike Trout has put up more fWAR over that span than Betts, who is a free agent at the end of the season.
David Price is one of the biggest free agency signings in the history of the Red Sox, signing a then-record seven-year, $217 million in 2016. Since then, he has amassed 11.5 fWAR as well as overcoming his playoff demons, coming close to winning 2018 World Series MVP. Price has three years and $96 million remaining on that contract, a big factor in why Boston wanted to move him in this deal, although they are reportedly eating half of that contract.
Alex Verdugo did well in his first full season in the Major Leagues next year, slashing .294/.342/.475 with 12 home runs and 2.2 fWAR. Verdugo is controlled through the 2025 season, and currently has a 50 future value score on Fangraphs.
Brusdar Graterol only has 10 big league appearances, but he was amazing every stop along the farm, with the exception being a pit stop at AAA Rochester. Graterol has two incredible pitches, a fastball and a slider, though command could be worrisome. He has a chance to win a starting job, but chances are he starts in the bullpen for Los Angeles.
The one thing Kenta Maeda has going for him is a veteran arm at only a little over $3 million per year for the next four years. However, it would not surprise me if Graterol outperformed him in 2020, and especially in the years beyond.
Jeter Downs is a shortstop without a standout trait, but he doesn’t have one that is a massive negative. Downs lit it up last year at Advanced A Rancho Cucamonga and AA Tulsa, springing himself to a 44th place ranking in MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects. The Dodgers acquired Downs in the Matt Kemp salary dump with the Reds about a year ago, and now he is flipped for Mookie Betts.
Connor Wong hit really well at AA Tulsa last season in his short stint there, though he does have a tendency to swing and miss a decent amount. That being said, he does seem to be a very solid catching prospect for the Red Sox.
Joc Pederson, although he cannot hit lefties, is a very good addition to an Angels lineup which now has both depth in the outfield to go with an elite lineup. Pitching is the big question mark there, though the addition of Ross Striping gives them a big addition to their sneaky good starting pitching depth. They still do not have the high end starter that they’d desire, but they also now have a surplus of excess bats to possibly try to deal for one.
Luis Rengifo’s bat is yet to come around, though he has an extremely versatile glove that can play at all infield positions. That’s good for a Dodgers team whose infield defense is suspect at best, as is Rengifo’s two remaining options.
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