If the Boston Red Sox are going to trade outfielder and former MVP Mookie Betts, it seems likely they're going to trade him to a National League West team. In recent days, rumors have circulated San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers, two teams with deep farm systems who feel the need to acquire another star-level contributor.
Indeed, the Dodgers' talks with the Red Sox in recent days have "approached a resolution on Betts," according to Andy McCullough of The Athletic. McCullough's report hits notes similar to the one published on Wednesday concerning the Padres by MLB.com's AJ Cassavell. In each case, it appears the Red Sox would receive a combination of second and third tier prospects (relative to the system), cost-controlled big-league players, and salary relief. ( .)
There is room for variation with both teams. McCullough reports that one scenario the Dodgers and Red Sox have discussed involve left-hander David Price, who is owed $96 million over the next three seasons. The Red Sox have had conversations with other clubs about Price over the course of the winter, including the Los Angeles Angels, according to league sources.
As it stands, Wil Myers, who is owed more than $60 million over the next three seasons. Because of how Myers' deal is structured, his luxury-tax number is just under $14 million, or, in other words, well beneath his actual annual take-home.. Trading Betts and Price would clear $58 million from their luxury-tax number. The Red Sox could use that space to make further additions, or to absorb a salary in return.
Whichever package the Red Sox end up taking (or not taking), Boston's return is unlikely to include the kind of prospect who makes the trade a clear win.
Betts, 27, has posted a 141 OPS+ and has accumulated 24 Wins Above Replacement over the last three seasons, according to Baseball-Reference's calculations. With him in tow, the Red Sox could theoretically threaten for a playoff spot. Alas, the Red Sox are aware that Betts intends to test free agency at season's end in order to receive his market value. That, plus their desire to save money and add young talent, has led them to investigate their options.