The Los Angeles Dodgers finally made the blockbuster acquisition fans have been pining for, reportedly acquiring Mookie Betts and David Price from the Boston Red Sox after a saga of negotiations led to a new agreement being reached.
Upon abandoning a three-team trade with the Red Sox and Minnesota Twins, the Dodgers now are trading Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong to Boston in exchange for Betts, Price and cash considerations.
It’s not every day that a 27-year-old, four-time All-Star and former MVP gets traded, but the reason the Red Sox decided to deal Betts was mostly financial. Boston had the highest payroll in baseball each of the last two years and want to get below the luxury tax threshold in 2020.
Additionally, Betts is in his final year of club control before reaching free agency and reports indicated that he and the Red Sox were not close to coming to an agreement in extension talks.
Early on in trade talks, it was thought that the Red Sox may allow the Dodgers a window to negotiate an extension with Betts before completing a trade. But that didn’t end up happening, per Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
The Red Sox would not grant the Dodgers a window to negotiate an extension with Betts, but he probably wouldn’t have engaged with them anyway because he wants to become a free agent after this season.
With Betts set to test free agency next winter, the trade is a bit of a gamble for the Dodgers as they could potentially lose him in a year. They would recoup some of the assets lost by extending a qualifying offer and receiving a draft pick if Betts signed elsewhere. But that is still nowhere near the equivalent of Verdugo and Maeda.
Betts is expected to command one of the largest contracts in baseball history once he hits the open market. The Dodgers have been hesitant to hand out long-term, lucrative deals in the past, but Betts is certainly worth breaking that mold for and it appears that L.A. will try to do so.
Regardless, this trade makes the Dodgers a much better team in 2020 as they attempt to win their first World Series since 1988.
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