I was not happy about the Mookie Betts trade when it happened. You can’t help but feel a sense of disbelief when your team trades a player of that caliber, no matter how long you’ve known it was going to happen. The original deal was a mess, the Red Sox as a whole are a mess right now. That said, the new deal creates a sense of hope for the future of the Red Sox.
Mookie Betts could sign here in the off-season
There is a perception around Mookie Betts – that he did not want to be in Boston, which is not true. Mookie recognized that he is a generational talent and that he deserves to be paid a record amount of money. I do not have a problem with that, nor should anyone else. Betts is, in my opinion, the second best player in baseball. Yelich is certainly in the running as well. I’d argue those two are the best in the game behind Trout.
The Red Sox offered Mookie Betts “something north of Machado’s 10 years, $300 million” according to WEEI. Betts countered with 12 years, $420 million according to reports. While these offers are over $100 million apart, it’s the years that make the two sides appear to be so far away. The Red Sox offer was somewhere slightly north of $30 million a year. Mookie’s counter was for $35 million a year. The deal never got done because 12 years, $420 million is what it would have taken for Betts to forgo testing free agency. That does not mean that he will get a twelve-year contract when he is forced to take a team’s offer in the winter.
The Red Sox will reset the luxury tax because of this trade, which means they will be able to spend money this upcoming off-season. There should be no fear that the Red Sox are now afraid to spend money. John Henry has not become cheap all of the sudden, he just wanted to reset the tax. The Red Sox need to trade Betts in order to keep him here long-term. The Dodgers did not trade an elite prospect for a rental and David Price. They want Mookie Betts for the long haul as well. The way I see it, this will be a two-team race for Betts between the Dodgers and the Red Sox. He wants to test free agency and the Red Sox will be ready and waiting for him to do so.
Verdugo will be taking Betts’ spot in the lineup, and will have a chance to factor into the long-term plans of the Boston Red Sox. He does not become an unrestricted free agent until after the 2024 season. At 23 years old, Verdugo has already shown a lot of potential. Last season, Verdugo hit .294 with 22 2B, 12 HR, 44 RBI’s and an .817 OPS in 106 games. While he will have plenty of time to develop into his prime, it’s nice to know he can already hit for average at the MLB level. He showed potential as a power hitter and has already proven to be an above-average contact hitter. His strikeout rate ranks in the top 7% of the league, as only 13% of his at-bats end in a strikeout.
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55 via MLB.com
Downs is the #44 prospect on MLB.com’s top 100 prospects list for 2020. He was the third best prospect in the Dodgers’ loaded farm system. Downs is a player that is a quality all-around player. He isn’t elite in any category, but he also doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. At only 21 years old, Downs has real potential to grow into a dynamic middle-infielder. Between A and AA ball last season, Downs hit .276 with 35 2B, 24 HR, 86 RBI’s, 24 SB and an .888 OPS in 119 games. He only played 12 games in AA but he actually performed better at the higher level.
Jeter Downs actually reminds me a lot of Xander Bogaerts who he could be playing alongside at some point this season. I compare these two because they both have a very balanced skill set. Downs will have an opportunity to become the starting second baseman for the foreseeable future if he stays with the organization.
Scouting grades: Hit: 40 | Power: 50 | Run: 55 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 40 via MLB.com
Wong is not a top 100 prospect, but he will add value to our depleted farm system. He was the Dodgers’ third-round pick in 2017 and has done well in the minors. Wong hit .281 with 24 2B, 24 HR, 82 RBI’s and an .878 OPS in 111 games between A and AA. He played 71 games in A and 40 games in AA. He actually excelled in AA — granted it was a limited stint. Wong hit .349 with a .997 OPS in 163 plate appearances for the Drillers (AA). Wong is graded as an average defensive catcher and appears to be an above-average offensive catcher. Connor Wong will be a fun player to track in the Red Sox farm system.