Coming into the offseason, the Boston Red Sox were expected to make a blockbuster trade in order to get underneath the luxury tax. With two months remaining until Opening Day, the most obvious trade candidates -- outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr., and left-handed starter David Price -- all remain in town. It's anyone's guess as to how much longer that stays true, as the Red Sox continue to monitor the market and explore potential deals.
For evidence of that, consider how the Red Sox and San Diego Padres recently engaged on talks centered around Betts, according to Dennis Lin of The Athletic. Lin notes that while a deal has been characterized as unlikely, the talks have included a "significant amount of prospect talent" heading to Boston, as well as outfielder Wil Myers, who would serve as salary ballast.
Betts, 27, recently agreed to terms on a one-year pact worth $27 million for what will be his final season of team control. He's expected to earn even more through free agency, as he's hit .299/.389/.535 (141 OPS+) over the last three seasons while playing high-grade defense in right field. Betts has so far resisted the Red Sox's attempts at signing him to a long-term extension, preferring instead to test the market at year's end and receive a contract fitting of his true value.
Myers seems like an odd inclusion given his struggles in 2019. He's historically been a decent hitter, however, and his contract is structured in a way where his inclusion would give the Padres salary relief and reduce the Red Sox's luxury-tax figure. Myers is slated to make $22.5 million in each of the next three seasons, but his contract (six years, $83 million) carries an average annual value of $13.83 million. In other words, the Red Sox would save just $4.5 million on their actual payroll, yet would have their luxury-tax figure trimmed by more than $13 million.
The Red Sox are currently projected to be $17.5 million over the luxury-tax threshold, per Cot's Contracts. Trading Bradley Jr. would spare them $11 million.
There's no telling which prospects the Padres would be willing to include in a deal. We covered their system here, naming left-hander MacKenzie Gore as the top youngster on their well-stocked farm. The rest of the top five included outfielder Taylor Trammell, right-hander Luis Patino, shortstop C.J. Abrams, and infielder Xavier Edwards, whom the Padres traded earlier this winter in a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays for Tommy Pham. League sources told CBS Sports the Padres were pushing left-hander Joey Cantillo in deadline talks, though he's more likely to round out a package than serve as the headliner.