The Red Sox Have the Most to Lose if The Betts Deal Falls Apart

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After the extremely frustrating 2019 season, Mookie Betts thanked Red Sox fans who watched the team all season.  Then he made a comment I found interesting considering now he is no longer in Boston.

Photo courtesy of foxsports.com
"Thank you guys for being here all year.  We'll go get them in 2020,” said Betts to a crowd of Sox fans following the last game of the 2019 season.  Well, lets’ now fast forward to Tuesday night.  The Red Sox traded right fielder Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with David Price for Alex Verdugo and Twins pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol.

The trade has been scrutinized by the Boston media and fans since it has gone down.  The thought process that the Red Sox have traded arguably the second best player in baseball due to a salary dump is hard to swallow.  The fact that Price needed to be added to a trade to create financial flexibility and get under the luxury tax is embarrassing.

Gear up for the 2020 MLB Season with new gear from NikeThe fans have a reason to be upset.  The ownership raised ticket prices once again for next season.  Having a generational player like Betts to watch is easier to shell out the cash and go to Fenway than it will be now that he’s gone.

Now the blockbuster deal is on hold because Twins prospect Graterol’s medicals are being questioned surrounding his health.  The Red Sox have held up the deal in order to try and get another prospect from the Twins.

If the Red Sox don’t follow through on this deal, bringing back Betts and Price is going to be incredibly awkward.  The club has gone this far to look back and they need to figure out a way to get this deal done.  While incredibly farfetched, it would not remotely surprise me if the Red Sox are getting cold feet and ownership realizes that they should have kept Betts due to the fan backlash.

The argument of whether or not the Red Sox should have signed Betts will be debated for years.  The Red Sox traded a superstar because of money and years attached to a contract extension.  Trading a player of the magnitude of Betts is never easy, and if you trade him you need to hit on the players acquired for the player.

So who is to blame for this whole mess?  I can answer that for you, Red Sox ownership and Dave Dombrowski.

I will preface by saying the Red Sox ownership has been willing to spend money while they have owned this franchise.  That is not my gripe with this whole situation.  The fact that they allowed Dombrowski to foolishly spend their money on players to put them in a position where they “can’t” sign Betts is a crime.  The fact that Red Sox owner John Henry allowed Dombrowski to sign Chris Sale to a five-year, $145 million dollar extension amidst seasons of arm injuries is completely unacceptable.

Henry allowed Dombrowski to sign righty Nathan Eovaldi to a four-year, $68 million dollar extension is completely mind blowing.  Eovaldi, who has had an injury history, had Tommy John surgery as a junior in high school and a second TJ surgery with the Yankees, when he missed all of the 2018 season.  He signed with the Rays for $2 million and the Sox acquired him during the World Series run.  The Red Sox rewarded Eovaldi based off a magical playoff performance and in his short time here in Boston.  Eovaldi is 5-4 in 35 games and owns a 4.81 ERA.

Dombrowski signed Price back in 2016 to a seven-year, $217 million dollar deal.  At the time that was the largest contract a free agent pitcher had signed.  Price helped the Red Sox win a World Series, but overall he has not been a fit in Boston.  He is the only player in this deal that will benefit in leaving Boston.

Red Sox fans, the second that Dombrowski became the man in charge of the baseball operation in Boston, as a fan we should have known this fallout was expected.  Dombrowski sold the farm and they won a championship for it.  The ownership was paying Dombrowski to make smart baseball decisions and he recklessly spent the team’s money on the wrong players.  Because of that, the Red Sox are trading Betts for pennies on the dollar.

The Red Sox can always attempt to bring back Betts at the end of next season.  According to former Red Sox Hall of Fame outfielder and hitting coach Jim Rice, Betts wanted to stay in Boston.

Rice was on MLB Radio this past Tuesday night.  Rice would go on to say, "[Mookie Betts} said, 'I wanted to stay... it was a business deal and they chose to go that way and I have to accept it.'"

The Red Sox had a player that wanted to stay here, but it was on his own terms.  Betts earned the right to go out and get the biggest deal he can find on the open market.  But he can’t play both sides of the fence on staying.  If you want to stay with the Red Sox and make a lot of money then there needs to be a compromise on both sides.  But there wasn’t and he is on the verge of playing in Los Angeles.

If this deal goes down officially, the winner clearly is the Dodgers; they add one of the best offensive players in the game and will add him to a lineup that already features NL MVP Cody Bellinger.  The Dodgers are getting a franchise player in Betts.  Betts is a former AL MVP (in 2018), he is a 3x Silver Slugger winner (2016, 2018-19) and a 2018 AL Batting Champion.

The Dodgers are in a position where they will need to try to keep Betts beyond this year.  Betts reportedly is looking for 12-years and $420 million dollar contract, which AVV wise is on par with Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout, but the years he wants might be the snag on any deal.  The Dodgers will have financial flexibility next season, so they’ll be able to make such deal happen.

Shop for NBA Jerseys at Fanatics!In fact, according to Andy McCullough of The Athletic, “no team is better positioned to sign Mookie Betts next winter than the Dodgers.  They were willing to set a record with their offer to Gerrit Cole.  Are they willing to do what it takes to sign Betts?”

The answer will be, yes.

With the Red Sox approach to reducing payroll and getting under the tax threshold, the team's best player was a sacrificial lamb.

The Dodgers didn't have to give up an aggressive package of prospects to acquire Betts from Boston.  On the flip side, the Dodgers will be extremely aggressive to keep Betts in Los Angeles.

This is not the first deal the Red Sox and Dodgers have made in recent memory with All-Stars going to LA.  In 2012, the Red Sox traded Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers for prospects and salary relief.  The Red Sox would go on to win a World Series the following season.

This deal is tough to see go down from a Red Sox fan perspective.  The Red Sox should not be trading superstars who are likable and fit with the club due to money.  I also completely understand why the club will not commit major dollars and years for any player.

The Red Sox Faithful have been just that with this trade.  There are people who are downright angry over this trade and others ready to move on.  But you can't play both sides.

Betts optimism shows he was ready to get back to work for the Red Sox in 2020.  Now he’ll do that from Dodger Stadium wearing the white and blue, playing for a very talented team that should be the clear favorites to win the National League pennant, or even the World Series.

Overall, this was the right move if the Red Sox truly weren’t willing to extend the years to Betts.  The club gets a very significant prospect package for a rental.  I am weary of paying players in their late 30’s $35 million per season.  The Red Sox should always be leaving themselves with payroll flexibility and retooling the farm system each year like the Dodgers have been doing.  The Dodgers have the right blueprint despite no championship to show for it; at least they’re competitive every season.

If I try and put a grade on this trade, I can honestly say for the return, I would give Bloom a B.  The players acquired for Betts with one year of control was a decent package.  I will say getting more was ideal, but to get David Price out of Boston was a bigger win for me.  He was set to become a 10-5 player after this season.  That would have made it harder to trade Price who would then have veto power to where he could go.

Ownership is going to take it on the chin here for this trade.  The narrative that they're cheap doesn't hold water - they spent.  The club was one of the top spending teams in baseball.  It can be argued that who they spent their money on wasn't right and resulted in them drawing the line with Betts.

Henry is getting an F here; he needs to take accountability for the way money has been spent on the players remaining on the roster.

I am going to give Chaim Bloom a pass on this trade, he was forced to do this deal.

The saga is finally over,  Now let the second-guessing begin.

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Boston Sports Syndicate: The Red Sox Have the Most to Lose if The Betts Deal Falls Apart
The Red Sox Have the Most to Lose if The Betts Deal Falls Apart
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