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Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Ringer: The Myths Behind Boston’s Mookie Betts Trade Justification

“Boston did really well,” one executive told ESPN’s Buster Olney. “The Red Sox will reset fast,” said another, adding, “they’ll have money to spend in the next offseason.”

Many of these optimistic interpretations of Boston’s side of the trade are centered more in myth than reality. So as spring training begins and Betts prepares for the first non–Red Sox camp of his career, let’s tackle some of those myths and expose the rotten underbelly of Boston’s trade.

A deep dive into the financials behind the trade.

Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 13, 2020 at 09:41 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: luxury tax, mookie betts, red sox, trades

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   1. deadpilgrims Posted: February 13, 2020 at 11:54 AM (#5924179)
I found this article to be very poor.


Check out the four "myths" the article claims to bust:

1) "were not going to compete in 2020" Red Sox never said or thought that.

2) and 4) are essentially the same. Both about how much will be saved. No mention of MLB Revenue Sharing, which I believe Alex Speier has covered.

3) "will re-invest" Writer points out we cannot yet know if they'll re-invest.


Also, Betts wants to go to free agency and would bring a 4th round pick if lost that way. Looking into a trade for such a player now is not crazy regardless of Luxury Tax status. Especially for a team currently lacking in farm strength.

Finally, "don't want to pay him what he's worth" is not correct. Red Sox reportedly made at least one very fair extension offer.


   2. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: February 13, 2020 at 12:49 PM (#5924207)
I haven't followed the situation but I wonder if the Red Sox felt that Mookie didn't want to re-sign, and were worried that the Yankees were going to re-sign him if he reached free agency. Maybe, they are are hopeful that the Dodgers will have a better chance of re-signing him long term if they get that extra year to sell him on the Dodgers.
   3. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 13, 2020 at 03:00 PM (#5924253)
Red Sox never said or thought that.


But the pro-Red Sox media has.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: February 13, 2020 at 03:15 PM (#5924256)
#2 is closer. The article's financial cover is fine but really doesn't deal with the fact the Sox traded one year of Betts and that the "savings" are mainly from the Price part of the deal. Further, the article makes no accounting of the value received via Verdugo and the prospects. He mentions that losing Price "opens a hole" in the rotation (there's no guarantee Price is healthy much less effective) but doesn't mention that Verdugo contributes this year then replaces Bradley next year, filling a hole long-term.

I don't think they should have done it but I also think we won't really know until we see what Betts signs for.
   5. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 13, 2020 at 04:54 PM (#5924291)
"myth" is a commonly held belief, not a claim by the franchise.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 13, 2020 at 06:51 PM (#5924321)
Looking at the other side of the deal, Verdugo Might Miss Opening Day:
There is a chance that newly acquired Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo will debut for his new team after Opening Day, two sources told MLB.com. Verdugo endured back and oblique soreness that ended his 2019 season with the Dodgers on Aug. 4. The left-handed hitter initially tweaked his back on the turf of Tropicana Field on May 22, and it bothered him on and off for the rest of the season.

The Red Sox, a source confirmed, were fully aware when they made the blockbuster trade with the Dodgers that Verdugo’s availability for the start of the season would be in question.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: February 13, 2020 at 07:37 PM (#5924325)
Yep, as soon as I found out Verdugo had a back injury, I became concerned. If the Red Sox took him on without a full physical and/or with any serious doubt as to his long-term health, that definitely tilts this trade towards "very bad idea." That he might not be ready on opening day doesn't matter per se but that it is now 6 months since he went on the IL and with another 5-6 weeks before opening day and he's still not recovered sounds quite serious to me.
   8. Hank Gillette Posted: February 14, 2020 at 04:30 AM (#5924376)
Finally, "don't want to pay him what he's worth" is not correct. Red Sox reportedly made at least one very fair extension offer.


Who decides what a “very fair extension offer” is? It looks to me like the Red Sox wanted a substantial home team discount.
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: February 14, 2020 at 09:45 AM (#5924394)
Who decides what a “very fair extension offer” is? It looks to me like the Red Sox wanted a substantial home team discount.
Wouldn't it be more accurate to say they wanted a pre-free-agency discount? During the same time period they agreed to two 9-digit extensions with players. So it seems likely that Bogaerts and Sale were willing to take the big guarantee in exchange for the pre-free-agency discount and Mookie was less willing.
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 15, 2020 at 02:45 PM (#5924617)
Verdugo’s injury is now described as a stress fracture in his lower back that has not fully healed yet. Not sure if that’s good news or bad news medically.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 15, 2020 at 03:14 PM (#5924630)
Yep, as soon as I found out Verdugo had a back injury, I became concerned. If the Red Sox took him on without a full physical and/or with any serious doubt as to his long-term health, that definitely tilts this trade towards "very bad idea." That he might not be ready on opening day doesn't matter per se but that it is now 6 months since he went on the IL and with another 5-6 weeks before opening day and he's still not recovered sounds quite serious to me.

If Verdugo's career is derailed by a known back injury, that the Sox accepted in their desperate desire to save money, it's going to be funny as hell.
   12. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: February 15, 2020 at 04:44 PM (#5924649)
FTA:

When that player is not only talented but a recent MVP, not only beloved but a homegrown hero, not only productive but, in fact, the most productive young player ever to be traded in MLB history, that reason had better be unimpeachable.


He's not the most productive young player to be traded by the Red Sox. By their criteria, it's most combined WAR in the 2 years prior to the trade by a player 28 or younger. Betts comes in at the top of their chart at 17.7. Ruth had a mere 16.9, but that was compiled in seasons of 126 and 137 games. On a per scheduled game basis, Ruth was far better. Adjusted for available playing time, Ruth comes out at 20.8. Also 3 years younger, which should count for something since we are talking about young players. So where is Ruth on their list? No where to be seen. Ruth should be in 5th place, just behind Speaker (17.0) and ahead of Donaldson (15.2). Apparently it is impossible to combine pitching WAR and batting WAR as well as accounting for shortened seasons.
   13. Hank Gillette Posted: February 15, 2020 at 04:51 PM (#5924651)
Wouldn't it be more accurate to say they wanted a pre-free-agency discount?


Could be. The point stands that they wanted a discount.
   14. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: February 15, 2020 at 04:51 PM (#5924652)
And adjusting Speaker for shortened seasons brings him to 17.9, ahead of Betts as well. So, the Red Sox have the top 3.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 15, 2020 at 04:52 PM (#5924653)
And adjusting Speaker for shortened seasons brings him to 17.9, ahead of Betts as well. So, the Red Sox have the top 3.

Best young player traded since Ruth and Speaker still makes the point.
   16. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: February 15, 2020 at 04:55 PM (#5924654)
It does, but it should actually best young player since Ruth, Foxx, and Speaker. Adjusting Foxx puts him ahead of Betts and Speaker at 18.3.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 15, 2020 at 05:14 PM (#5924656)
It does, but it should actually best young player since Ruth, Foxx, and Speaker. Adjusting Foxx puts him ahead of Betts and Speaker at 18.3.

Best young player since integration? Since WW2?
   18. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: February 15, 2020 at 05:24 PM (#5924657)
If Verdugo's career is derailed by a known back injury, that the Sox accepted in their desperate desire to save money, it's going to be funny as hell.

Imagine if Verdugo is never 100%, but Graterol has a long and healthy career.
   19. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: February 15, 2020 at 05:29 PM (#5924660)
Best young player since integration? Since WW2?


Sure. I also would have accepted "one of the best". As you note, all of them make the point. Which is precisely my point. If an honest or accurate reading of the data makes the same point, why be misleading in order to make a hyperbolic point?
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 15, 2020 at 05:46 PM (#5924661)
Sure. I also would have accepted "one of the best". As you note, all of them make the point. Which is precisely my point. If an honest or accurate reading of the data makes the same point, why be misleading in order to make a hyperbolic point?

Laziness? Stupidity?
   21. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 15, 2020 at 06:15 PM (#5924667)
Imagine if Verdugo is never 100%, but Graterol has a long and healthy career.
A bit curious that the hitter with the broken back was an acceptable risk, but the pitching prospect who reached the Majors at age-20 wasn’t. Could be a lot of second guessing if medical staff got it wrong, but it’s not like Red Sox fans would hold a grudge over anything like that.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: February 16, 2020 at 10:11 PM (#5924801)
By their criteria, it's most combined WAR in the 2 years prior to the trade by a player 28 or younger.

That should then include ARod at 17.2 (which it might, not sure what list we're looking at). And of course ARod would have ended up on the Red Sox if they had been willing to eat the extra cash.

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