Mookie Betts has been a phenomenal player in the MLB for parts of 6 seasons now and is finally entering his final year of team control. Unfortunately, he is on a team with severe payroll issues that needs a quick “reset” to get back into contention. Projected to make roughly $28M in 2020, Betts is likely to be wearing a different name on the front of his jersey next season. If the Red Sox cannot reach common ground with their star player, they may look to shop him around instead of making one last run.
His Baseball Card:
- Career .301/.374/.519 line
- Averaged 28 HR, 96 RBI, and 26 SB
- Career WAR of 42.0
- 4 straight gold gloves
- 4 straight All-Star appearances
- 2 silver sluggers
- 2016 MVP Runner-Up
- 2018 MVP
Here is what will make this storyline interesting to watch. Betts is a player with a very high salary and one year from free agency. For the Red Sox, you are still a fringe contender looking for MLB-ready talent that is under team control. However, they would guarantee a compensation pick in the 2021 MLB Draft if he leaves via free agency. This figures to make the “floor” as an MLB-ready player and a top 100 prospect.
Who Is Out?
I think it is best to first eliminate any team with any combination of the following:
- Low payroll
- Not contending in 2020
- An above-average RF
- Weak farm system
- The Yankees
Those stipulations should eliminate a good chunk of the MLB and leave 6 teams with a good chance.
Who is left?
New York Mets
The Mets are no strangers to the trade market and have playoff aspirations. With a combination of controllable pitching and outfielders, the Mets are poised to make a strong offer. The team is also looking to build on a strong second half that saw them push for the playoffs, but fade late. The pitching seems to be in place with Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman as headliners, but the offense leads something to be desired.
Potential Trade Return: LHP Steven Matz and OF Brandon Nimmo
With the flexibility to have Ronald Acuna Jr. play any outfield position and a solid farm, the Braves could decide to enter the Betts sweepstakes. The team has the money to use, as they signed their cornerstone players in Ronald Acuna, and Ozzie Albies to very team friendly deals. The likely rub, for the Red Sox, is that the Atlanta Braves are also searching for an upgrade to their rotation. However, that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t solidify their outfield even further.
Potential Trade Return: OF Ender Inciarte, SP Touki Toussaint, prospect OF Greyson Jenista
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodger don’t NEED Betts on their team but they are desperate to get over the playoff hump and have the depth to pull off a move. The team has been known to spend big, and it’s possible that adding Betts to the lineup would be too good to pass up for LA. It’s a long shot, sure, but they could still be in the sweepstakes, should the Red Sox decide to move Betts.
Potential Trade Return: OF Joc Pederson and SP Tony Gonsolin
The Astros are fresh off a crushing World Series loss and are likely losing Gerrit Cole to free agency. Could Betts help keep them elite in 2020? It’s tough to say, as they will likely face payroll issues of their own as their star players reach free agency. The Astros may want to bolster their offense and head for it again before their window may close.
Potential Trade Return: OF Josh Reddick, SP Jose Urquidy, and OF Myles Straw
Wild Card Picks:
That Nationals are fresh off a World Series and could see 3B Anthony Rendon leave via free agency. With few options available to fill the void, maybe they get creative and make a run at Betts? He would be a dynamite pairing with Juan Soto that could help the team that is looking to defend their crown. This is less likely to happen, however, i would be great to see.
Potential Trade Return: OF Adam Eaton, SP Erik Fedde, prospect INF Luis Garcia
San Diego Padres
The Padres have a nice mix of controllable talent and prospects that could appeal to the Red Sox. A matchup could go two ways, one with MLB-ready talent and another with Wil Myers plus prospects to unload the salary. The Padres had a tough time this past season with their offense, even with the addition of Manny Machado. The team may look to bolster their offense and hope to close their gap to contention.
Potential Trade Return: OF Hunter Renfroe, C Austin Hedges, and P Matt Strahm
2nd Potential Trade Return: OF Wil Myers, SP Cal Quantrill, and prospect SP Adrian Morejon
Author Twitter: @TheRealKraken24