With the official opening of spring training nearing, the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Twins have broken a logjam in their negotiations and are making renewed progress towards a deal — or, quite possibly, towards two separate deals — that would send Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles and bring young talent back to Boston.
According to multiple major league sources on Sunday morning, after days of stop-and-start conversations between the Sox and Twins, all three teams were again talking and making progress. In all likelihood, according to one source familiar with the talks, the likeliest path now appears to be two separate trades involving the three teams.
On Tuesday night, the three teams agreed in principle to a deal to send Betts and Price to the Dodgers, Kenta Maeda to the Twins, and outfielder Alex Verdugo and righthander Brusdar Graterol to the Twins. However, that agreement required the teams to review the medical files of the players involved to reach completion. The Sox became concerned, when reviewing Graterol’s medical file, that there was more risk than anticipated that he wouldn’t be able to start. (Agent Scott Boras, who represents Graterol, said that the Twins doctors and Dr. Neal ElAttrache both had seen Graterol in person and determined that despite his two months on the sidelines during the minor league season, there was no physical limitation that would prevent him from starting in the future.)
The Sox and Twins had worked for days to identify an alternate path to complete the deal, with Minnesota adding a prospect to Graterol. But the teams couldn’t agree upon the additional prospect. On Saturday, major league sources said that the Sox and Twins considered it unlikely that they would be able to find common ground. Even so, multiple sources familiar with the deal characterized it as more likely than not that a Dodgers-Red Sox deal would happen — with or without the Twins.
The Dodgers and Twins can work directly on a deal involving Maeda to the Twins (presumably for prospects), while the Sox and Dodgers can work to round out a deal that would send Betts and Price to the Dodgers for (most likely) Verdugo and one or more additional players. In Sunday morning’s conversations, the Sox appeared unlikely to end up with Graterol, the hardthrowing righthander. It’s worth noting that the Dodgers have a deep inventory of pitching prospects, and earlier in the talks (before Tuesday’s trade agreement), had expressed a willingness to discuss virtually anyone in their system aside from middle infielder Gavin Lux and righthander Dustin May.
Whether these advancing talks net a deal remains to be seen, but after days in which the probability of a finalized trade seemed to have receded to some degree, the needle is now moving in the other direction — with three days remaining before the first workout of the spring for Red Sox and Twins pitchers and catchers.