A resolution regarding the fate of Mookie Betts may be nearing.
Major league sources familiar with the trade negotiations between the Red Sox and the Padres and Dodgers believe that a decision by the Red Sox could come within the next few days. According to the sources, both San Diego and Los Angeles have outlined multiple trade offers for the 2018 AL MVP, with talks with both teams at a relatively advanced stage – though according to a source with one of those teams, the Red Sox have not made a request for a last and best offer for their superstar right fielder.
The Padres have been willing to assemble a trade package that includes young big league contributors in both the outfield (likely center fielder Manuel Margot or corner outfielder Josh Naylor) and the rotation (with a willingness to discuss righthander Cal Quantrill and lefthander Joey Lucchesi). Additionally, they’d also send prospects to the Red Sox in a Betts deal, likely headlined by catcher Luis Campusano, who was named the 2019 MVP of the High-A California League in 2019 as a 20-year-old.
However, in order to afford Betts, the Padres would need the Red Sox to take back Wil Myers. San Diego would assume some of Myers’s remaining financial obligation over the final three years ($61 million) of his contract, thus diminishing the financial flexibility that the Red Sox would achieve in such a deal. As such, San Diego would have to send more young, inexpensive talent – either prospects or big leaguers near the start of their careers – than the Dodgers in order to assemble the superior package.
The Dodgers have shown a willingness to anchor a trade package with 23-year-old outfielder Alex Verdugo, who hit .294/.342/.475 with 12 homers in 106 games during his rookie season for the Dodgers in 2019 – though he missed the final two months of the season with a back injury. The Dodgers have also shown a willingness to discuss additional prospects and/or big league players in return for Betts, and Los Angeles has also explored scenarios with the Sox in which they’d take David Price — and part of the remaining financial obligation to the pitcher, who is owed $96 million over the three remaining years of his deal — in addition to Betts.
Some evaluators, however, believe that the Red Sox would be better served to separate Price from Betts in a deal — noting that if the lefthander returns to health this year, his trade value could be considerably higher in midseason than it is now, coming off a year in which he barely pitched over the final two months due to a wrist cyst.
Though the 27-year-old Betts is just one year from free agency and a contract that could land north of $400 million, both the Padres and Dodgers see him as a difference-maker of such magnitude that he would justify a package of several young players. The four-time All-Star hit .295/.391/.524 with 29 homers and 16 steals along with a major league-leading 135 runs scored in 2019. He also turned in his fifth straight year of at least 65 extra-base hits — making Betts one of eight players (along with Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, Joe Medwick, and Jimmie Foxx) to do so in five straight seasons between the ages of 22 and 26.