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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Hot Stove Tracker: Dodgers, Red Sox reportedly talking Mookie Betts trade

The Los Angeles Dodgers, eager to finally break their World Series slump, are looking everywhere this offseason for the addition that could get them over the hump. Now, that could also mean Boston Red Sox star outfielder Mookie Betts.

According to Bob Nightengale at USA Today, the Red Sox and Dodgers are “engaged in exploratory trade talks.” The Dodgers, as we’ve talked about already, also covet Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, and he remains their No. 1 trade priority. Writes Nightengale:

“The Dodgers’ top priority remains Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, but if the two sides can’t agree on a package for the All-Star, the Dodgers could turn its attention to Boston. The Red Sox are much more inclined to trade Betts – who’s projected to earn $27-30 million in his final year before free agency – than Cleveland is with Lindor. The Red Sox, who had baseball’s highest payroll at $244 million, and will pay $13 million in luxury tax penalties, want to slash their payroll to be under the $208 million tax threshold in 2020.”

According to USA Today’s report, the Dodgers would be willing to part with Corey Seager, their former Rookie of the Year, but not Gavin Lux. Other names in the mix: young catcher Will Smith and outfielders Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo.

The longer and longer it goes on, the Great Red Sox Freak Out of the 2019 off-season comes across as stranger and stranger, especially to those of us who remember the 2018 season…..

 

QLE Posted: December 18, 2019 at 01:44 AM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, hot stove, mookie betts, trade rumors

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: December 18, 2019 at 05:02 PM (#5909711)
Curious to see what works out. This could end up as Punto II whre the Red Sox dump Eovaldi or maybe even Price as the cost for Betts. Alternatively, if the Dodgers could get Betts to agree to an extension, I could see maybe as much as Verdugo going the other way. Lux might also be of interest to the Red Sox.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 18, 2019 at 05:08 PM (#5909714)
I unclear as to why either side is interested in this. We've been over the Red Sox angle a bunch, but why would the Dodgers give up a really good prospect for one year of market priced Betts?

They're still the prohibitive favorite in their division, and I don't think Betts moves the needle much on post-season odds. No psoition player can.

On the Lindor rumors, is Corey Seager not an elite SS anymore?
   3. PreservedFish Posted: December 18, 2019 at 05:14 PM (#5909717)
They're still the prohibitive favorite in their division, and I don't think Betts moves the needle much on post-season odds. No psoition player can.

Sometimes teams just get overexcited. The Cubs traded Torres for Chapman. Billy Beane traded Russell for Jeff Samardzjia.
   4. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 18, 2019 at 05:42 PM (#5909740)
On the Lindor rumors, is Corey Seager not an elite SS anymore?


He's good, but not as good as Lindor, so they're seeing whether they can upgrade.
   5. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 18, 2019 at 05:43 PM (#5909742)
Billy Beane traded Russell for Jeff Samardzjia.


History suggests that that wasn't as bad an idea as it seemed at the time.
   6. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: December 18, 2019 at 05:51 PM (#5909745)
Billy Beane traded Russell for Jeff Samardzjia.


History suggests that that wasn't as bad an idea as it seemed at the time.

Especially since Beane then flipped Samardzjia for Chris Bassitt and Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien.
   7. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: December 18, 2019 at 06:11 PM (#5909751)
I'm out for 2020 if they trade Betts, *especially* if it's a salary dump reset.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 18, 2019 at 07:39 PM (#5909767)

He's good, but not as good as Lindor, so they're seeing whether they can upgrade.


Seager projects to 4.4 WAR, Lindor 5.9. That's a pretty expensive, small upgrade.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: December 18, 2019 at 09:53 PM (#5909785)
I assume they would shift Seager to 2B (where the Dodgers have a semi-hole) or 3B (with Turner moving to 1B where they have a semi-hole).

I don't know that the Dodgers would move a legit prospect for 1 year of Betts ... but if they could get Betts to agree to an extension then maybe they move a legit prospect. As I'm suggesting, if it's just 1 year of Betts then maybe the Red Sox get them to take on the remainder of Eovaldi while getting nothing back. Maybe they can pick up somebody like Jeter Downs.

I could be wrong but I feel like the Dodgers probably got lucky on offense last year -- at least that seems like a lot of platoon-y guys performing at their peak -- and slotting Betts into CF would cover for a lot of that and give them flexibility on Pollock/Verdugo/Pedersen/Muncy/Taylor with a couple of those guys being moved in a trade. Anyway, it's hard to see how they could improve the team more for 2020 than acquiring Betts -- and they could probably do that without seriously damaging the 2021-24 teams.
   10. PreservedFish Posted: December 18, 2019 at 11:31 PM (#5909806)
if it's just 1 year of Betts then maybe the Red Sox get them to take on the remainder of Eovaldi while getting nothing back


There would be riots in Boston.
   11. A triple short of the cycle Posted: December 18, 2019 at 11:51 PM (#5909808)
Yes that Addison Russell trade looks better and better. A good example of letting things play out before judging the trade. Not that anyone knew then what would happen.
   12. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 19, 2019 at 01:06 AM (#5909814)
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 19, 2019 at 09:16 AM (#5909833)
I assume they would shift Seager to 2B (where the Dodgers have a semi-hole) or 3B (with Turner moving to 1B where they have a semi-hole).

Looking at their ZiPs projections, I don't see any holes. These are their projections (PA/OPS+/WAR)

Bellinger 641/157/6.2
Muncy 523/132/3.8
Seager 561/115/3.7
Turner 490/124/3.3
Lux 605/108/2.9
Pederson 468/124/2.6
Smith 445/108/2.5
Taylor 514/104/2.1
Verdugo 476/108/2.0
Gyorko 350/100/1.6
Pollock 403/102/1.5
Barnes 319/85/1.1

That's 12 above average players (in full-time usage).

This lineup:

C Smith/Barnes
1B Muncy
2B Seager
SS Lux
3B Turner
OF Bellinger/Pederson/Verdugo
with Taylor, Pollock, and Gyorko as backup.

doesn't seem to have any holes.


   14. Darren Posted: December 19, 2019 at 11:14 AM (#5909874)
They Dodgers are insanely deep with such talent that the only ways for them to improve are to a) trade for/sign superstars or b) add #1/2 pitchers to the back of their rotation.
   15. Answer Guy. Posted: December 19, 2019 at 11:34 AM (#5909877)

There would be riots in Boston.


Maybe not riots exactly, but probably a lot of negative press ink and many more home dates with lots of seats available, especially if the team starts slow again in 2020.
   16. aberg Posted: December 19, 2019 at 11:42 AM (#5909881)
If they were going to do something to absorb salary from BOS, shouldn't they try to get Chris Sale?
   17. DL from MN Posted: December 19, 2019 at 12:01 PM (#5909886)
It looks like Betts is a much bigger upgrade over Verdugo than Lindor is over Seager.
   18. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: December 19, 2019 at 12:04 PM (#5909888)
Seager projects to 4.4 WAR, Lindor 5.9. That's a pretty expensive, small upgrade.

Considering where the Dodgers are and project, it kinds of makes sense to upgrade from good to very good (or very good to great) wherever they can, right? Seager isn't as good, and isn't as durable, so why wouldn't they try to improve if they could? They have the money, so the question is how much more than just Seager will it cost to upgrade to Lindor? Seager and Lindor both have 2 years of control, and the Indians are absurdly cheap, so it might not even take that much more considering Seager is pretty good, too.
   19. Darren Posted: December 19, 2019 at 12:05 PM (#5909889)
ZIPS says Seager will be worth 3.7 WAR, so maybe not that much?
   20. Zonk Wants Justice for Carolyn Gombell Posted: December 19, 2019 at 12:09 PM (#5909891)
Hey!

On the Russell/Samardzjia deal - you are forgetting that the Cubs also got Billy McKinney!

Who went to the Yankees with Torres for Chapm... wait... never mind.

EDIT: Actually, do mind - they also got Dan Straily, who shipped to Houston with Luis Valbuena for Sexy Dexy...
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 19, 2019 at 12:52 PM (#5909925)
Considering where the Dodgers are and project, it kinds of makes sense to upgrade from good to very good (or very good to great) wherever they can, right?

Not really, no. Given how good they are, they should probably just stand pat. Maybe add a good RP.

Spending a lot of prospect value to move your playoff odds from 90% to 92% is stupid. Neither Betts nor Lindor will meaningfully increase their odd of a WS win.
   22. DCA Posted: December 19, 2019 at 01:19 PM (#5909953)
#13 - Gyorko's option was declined, he's a FA. So replace him on the list with Kike Hernandez, who is younger, better, and can play all over the OF as well as the IF.
   23. DCA Posted: December 19, 2019 at 01:37 PM (#5909973)
Obviously, Betts to LAD makes little sense for either team. But if we accept the premise that the two teams are looking to make a deal, here's what could work:

One of Pollock/Pederson/Verdugo to BOS: Dodgers will have an excess of starting-caliber OF, and the Sox will need one.
One of Rios/Beatty to BOS: Cheap solution to 1B vs RHP (in house options of Chavis/Dalbec are RHB and very likely to be below average vs RHP)
Bad contracts to LAD (Sale/Price/Eovaldi): Duh
Pitching prospects to BOS: Dodgers have lots close to the majors: May, Gonsolin, Gray, several lesser guys.

I'd headline the return with Pederson. He's also got one year left, so perfectly fits into Betts' role. He's good enough to justify the deal, but the Sox fans will still hate him. So they'll offer a QO after the season and let him walk. However, as the obvious headliner, he'll draw fire so any other players going to Boston are given a fair shake.

Pederson, Rios, Dennis Santana, Mitchell White

for

Betts, Price, Eovaldi, $$ (Price to LAD rotation, Eovaldi to LAD pen)
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 19, 2019 at 02:10 PM (#5909998)
Price to LAD rotation,

Is Price even physically capable of pitching right now?
   25. . Posted: December 19, 2019 at 02:19 PM (#5910007)
Certainly nothing wrong with trying to improve your roster, but the premise that the Dodgers haven't "gotten over the hump" because of roster shortcomings is faulty. Last year's team had a 106-56 actual, and 107-55 pythag record. Its roster was fantastic by any serious measurement.

"The playoffs are a crapshoot" should be required 1,000 times blackboard writing for everyone involved in baseball.
   26. jmurph Posted: December 19, 2019 at 02:53 PM (#5910025)
Pederson, Rios, Dennis Santana, Mitchell White

for

Betts, Price, Eovaldi, $$ (Price to LAD rotation, Eovaldi to LAD pen)

I'd trade several family members in order to keep Betts in Boston until he retires, but even I don't think the Dodgers would be willing to eat two bad contracts in this kind of deal while also giving up actual talent.
   27. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: December 19, 2019 at 03:31 PM (#5910042)
I'd trade several family members in order to keep Betts in Boston until he retires, but even I don't think the Dodgers would be willing to eat two bad contracts in this kind of deal while also giving up actual talent.

It might work if the "$$" to LA is something like $60+ million. Rios, Santana, and White are more AAAA guys than top 10 prospects, but they do have a little bit of value.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: December 19, 2019 at 03:43 PM (#5910045)
I never quite buy projections for part-timers, especially late-blooming part-timers. Muncy, Hernandez, Pederson, etc. have been awesome for the Dodgers ... and could be worthless tomorrow because that's (very often) how those players go. You should never, ever let such a player stand in the way of acquiring a Mookie Betts. (I mean that in the abstract, Betts for 1/$30 is not an OMG acquisition.) Also the main CFs on that list are Verdugo, Pollock and Taylor, all projected around average so, yes, Betts would be a big upgrade there.

Without question, the Dodgers are an outstanding team. But without question, Betts would be a big upgrade and, at worst, the 2nd-best player on the team (Steamer projects him a full win ahead of Bellinger; ZiPS likes Bellinger more than Steamer does, we don't have Betts ZiPS yet). There are plenty of short/long-term financial/contract reasons the Dodgers wouldn't do this deal but there are no baseball ones. So why would the Dodgers do this deal? Because they want to add about 4 wins in 2020.
   29. DL from MN Posted: December 19, 2019 at 03:50 PM (#5910048)
I'd trade several family members


Do I have to take someone else's family members in return?
   30. Zonk Wants Justice for Carolyn Gombell Posted: December 19, 2019 at 07:12 PM (#5910070)
Unless you think Kershaw is on the verge of becoming Mike Hampton, the Dodgers seem like they’re better positioned to eat a lot of bad contract than anyone else, especially among the big money teams....

They’ve got a fair number of decisions ahead of them on getting expensive guys, but they’ve also got some impressive minor league depth covering most of those spots...

If I were LA? And I could get Betts in exchange for a massive bunch of contract dumps and a few spare parts? Done.

I would want a hella lot more than bad contract dumps though on the other end.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 19, 2019 at 08:30 PM (#5910083)
So why would the Dodgers do this deal? Because they want to add about 4 wins in 2020.

Those are really low value wins. I mean if you can get him without giving up any real talent, sure, but if they have to give up someone like Lux, or May, or Ruiz, it's not close to worth it.

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