With Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts heading into the final year of his contract, the 2018 American League MVP has been surrounded by a swirl of rumors that he is on the trading block. One of the most popular Betts trade rumors alleges that the 27-year-old, four-time All Star would be packaged with high-priced lefty pitcher David Price and shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But on Saturday, a leading Dodgers news site, L.A. Dodger Report, did everything it could to shoot down those rumors, declaring that Betts will not be a Dodger in 2020 — and pleading, "Can we stop this?"
Earlier this week, MLB.com correspondent Jon Paul Morosi wrote that while the Dodgers continue to negotiate with the Cleveland Indians for shortstop Francisco Lindor, the winners of seven straight NL West titles may actually be "more involved" in an attempt to pry Betts from the Red Sox.
In his MVP season of 2018, Betts led the way as the Red Sox rolled up 108 regular-season wins, followed by a cruise through the postseason where they faced the Dodgers in the World Series — and dispatched them in five games.
"Any Dodger fan would love to see Betts playing in Dodger blue," wrote L.A. Dodger Report founder Scott Andes.
"He's one of the best players in baseball."But the problem, Andes writes, is Dodgers' President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman.
"We should all know that Friedman would never acquire elite talent and never actually pay for premium talent," Andes wrote, noting that to acquire Betts would likely require not only a trade but a new contract that could be a massive one.
Betts is expected to earn $27.7 million in 2020 alone, whether from the Red Sox or any team that acquires him, according to the sports financial site SpoTrac. In his next contract, Betts will certainly be looking for a considerably higher average annual value and a long-term deal.
Since 2015, Betts' first full season, no Major League player other than the Angels' Mike Trout has recorded a higher number in the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) stat. According to MLB.com, Betts has posted a WAR of 32.9 over that span.
As a result, according to the MLB.com report, Betts is likely to command a contract similar to the deal signed last season by outfielder Bryce Harper with the Philadelphia Phillies. Harper's deal pays him a total of $330 million over 13 seasons. But since 2015, Harper has put up a WAR number of 21.7 — 11.2 "wins" behind Betts.
"The pseudo trade rumors are perpetuated even more to make it look like Andrew Friedman is working hard," Andres wrote. "The excuses as to why the deals never happen pile up."