The Tuesday Discussion: Our Thoughts on the Mookie Betts Trade
(Note – some of these responses came based on the original trade with the Dodgers…not the one that was completed on Sunday.)
Tamar Chalker: I’ve been perplexed about the Red Sox need to trade Betts from the start. I can’t not like the guy. He is an amazing player and seems to be a great person as well. In the middle of the World Series he gives away food to the homeless and wasn’t turning it into a photo shoot. To me, Betts could have been the Red Sox’s Jeter. Playing only for them and showing great character on and off the field. If I were a Red Sox fan, I would be upset about the trade’s impact now, but more worried about what it says for the team’s goals and plans for the future.
John Nocero – For the Dodgers, trading for Betts is a brilliant move. My best friend is a Dodgers fan living in Oklahoma. We talk every week and for the last couple weeks he has told me, “John, if Tommy had this crew, they would have one at least 2 of the last three World Series.” Now, LA has no excuse. they are clearly the best team in the entire league, when you roll out Bellinger, Betts, Muncy, Lux, Turner, Seager and Smith; their farm system is deep to fill any holes, and their rotation remains formidable. They can absorb the losses of Alex Verdugo, Joc Pedersen and Kenta Maeda. I would be shocked if they did not win the World Series this year.
As for the Red Sox, it shows how far the mighty have fallen in only two years. their farm system is gutted, but they knew that would happen when they brought Dave Dombrowski in as GM – he got them a title at the cost of their system. Spring training starts next week and they don’t even have a manager as of this writing; Dustin Pedroia is finally looking like his career is over after a brilliant run; maybe the smartest thing the Sox did was getting LA to pay for some of David Price’s contract. As of now, I don’t see Boston any higher than 3rd in the East behind the Yankees and Rays.
Ed Botti – The Commission’s decision on the 2019 Red Sox has not been rendered. If there is any cheating found, the Dodgers just added a player that may have been involved in cheating them out of a World Series Championship. At the very least, they added a player who played for Alex Cora, who already is strongly connected to cheating the Dodgers in 2017.
So, my first thought is how can players like Cody Bellinger, who has been very vocal criticizing the Astros’ cheating now welcome him into their clubhouse, notwithstanding his talent? I wouldn’t.
Matthew Cohen – Here’s a back of the envelope on this trade: Boston trades: Mookie Betts 6.6 WAR, 1 Year of team control
Boston gets: Alex Verdugo (OF) 2.2 WAR in 377 plate appearances 4.0 normalized for a full season, 5 years of team control, Jeter Downs (21 years old at AA), potential superstar, and Connor Wong (23 year old catcher at AA) great power, strikes out a ton.
Mookie Betts is worth about $63 million (based on $9.5 million per WAR). So his rights are worth $36 million (his salary is $27 million).
Verdugo should be worth around $190 million over the next 5 years and let’s say he’ll get paid half of that. So He has $95 million in excess value.
Downs will be worth $228 million if everything pans out. He’ll get paid around 45% of that. So let’s say $125 million in excess value. Let’s peg that at $62 million to account for the risk that he doesn’t pan out. Wong is worth maybe $5 million plus or minus.
The Red Sox are paying half of David Price’s salary so the Dodgers get him at roughly what he’s worth, so that’s a wash.
So the Red Sox gave up $36 million in value and got back $162 million in value. That’s quite a trade. The dropoff from Betts to a full season of Verdugo is not that steep. And Verdugo could improve over his 2019 results because he’s only 23.
Paul Semendinger – The Sunday night trade , seemingly the final iteration of this deal that became a confused mess for a while, gives the Red Sox significantly more than the original deal. Still, I think it’s a shame that the Red Sox felt compelled to trade their young superstar. I would guess that, over time, the players the Red Sox acquired will not be equal, in total, to Mookie Betts. It doesn’t take long to write a list of all the potential superstars who didn’t pan out. Mookie Betts already is a superstar.
Now, maybe Mookie Betts knows the disaster that just might be what the Red Sox seem to be. Maybe the Red Sox organization is a mess. Maybe their part of the cheating scandal is worse than the Astros. Maybe. (Who knows?) But, maybe because of what he’s seen, Mookie Betts couldn’t wait to get out of Boston. That could be true. If that’s the case, the Red Sox made a pretty good deal to leverage the player they were going to lose for three very good lottery tickets. Maybe.
In the end, I would liken this to the Yankees being forced to trade Gleyber Torres in a few years (with the expectation that Torres continues to perform at an elite level). For whatever reason the Yankees would trade him (he decides he don’t wish to be a Yankee or the Yankees wish to save money), I would see that as a failure of the organization – for not creating an environment where the young superstar wishes to remain with the team or by not paying a player what he is worth. In that light, I think the trade is a net loss for the Red Sox.
Ethan Semendinger – My goodness was a saga this trade was. And to quickly put out my opinion on what happened, I think the big winners of this trade are the Dodgers. They got easily a Top-5 player in the MLB (Mookie Betts), a pitcher who should still be good (David Price), and a nice pitching prospect (Brusdar Graterol), all for an interesting but inspiring OF’er (Alex Verdugo), a solid INF prospect (Jeter Downs), and eating some money (but that happened on both sides).
I also think the Twins win out with getting Kenta Maeda, as they truly needed the help in the rotation. If that didn’t occur I was looking to write a piece about how Maeda would’ve been a great addition for the Yankees now that Paxton will be out until May, and Maeda has experience in the rotation and bullpen.
All that aside, I want to mention how the Angels in this trade got screwed out of their deal for Joc Pederson, which entirely was based upon the original Mookie Betts deal taking place. Apparently, Angels owner Arte Moreno was peeved about delays and backed-out. It could get revisted, as the Dodgers need to clear 2 spots on their 40-Man roster to complete the Betts trade, so why not now for the Yankees to go on the offensive to snag him?
Derek McAdam – I believe the Red Sox did the right thing in this situation. If they had no plans on re-signing him to a contract that he wanted, why even keep him? They got a nice return for Betts, and were also able to shed half of David Price’s contract. It is always better to at least get something for a player about to hit the free agent market as opposed to nothing.