Despite capturing seven straight National League West Division titles, winning 302 games over the last three seasons, and making World Series appearances in 2017 and 2018, the Los Angeles Dodgers have not won a Major League championship since 1988. That’s the 10th-longest current World Series drought by any of the 30 Major League Baseball teams. According to a report by longtime baseball beat writer Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Dodgers appear determined to finally take home a trophy.
Nightengale reports that the Dodgers are in active, albeit “exploratory,” trade talks with the Boston Red Sox to acquire 2018 American League MVP outfielder Mookie Betts. The Red Sox defeated the Dodgers in the 2018 World Series and — although Betts struggled with only five hits in 23 at-bats — he scored five runs in the five-game series, including a key home run off Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw in the fifth and deciding game.
Betts, who was picked in the fifth round of the 2011 MLB draft by Boston, would play his seventh season for the Red Sox in 2020 — meaning that he will be eligible to enter free agency following that season. Betts is expected to earn about $27 million from the Red Sox next season. With the team looking to slash payroll, he has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason.
In fact, at least according to veteran Boston sports reporter John Tomase, writing for NBC Sports Boston, the Red Sox may also be looking to ship left-hander David Price and his $32 million 2020 paycheck to the Dodgers as well.
“The Dodgers saw firsthand what Price can do in big moments when he dominated them twice in the 2018 World Series,” Tomase wrote, adding that Price was drafted by current Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, when Friedman was in charge of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2007. As a result, the player and executive have a solid, longstanding professional relationship.
Whether the Dodgers would want to give up such top prospects as shortstop Gavin Lux and catcher Will Smith for Betts or Price — or both — would likely depend on whether they can sign the outfielder to a long-term deal. Otherwise, the 27-year-old native of Nashville, Tennessee, appears determined to test free agency, where he is expected to command a contract comparable to the 12-year, $426.5 million pact inked by Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels prior to the 2019 season, according to SpoTrac.
Betts’ WAR (Wins Above Replacement-level player) of 10.9 in 2018 was top in the Majors, exceeding Trout’s 10.2. Over the past five seasons, Betts’s number stands at 39.7, second only to Trout over that time period.