With his contract expiring at the end of the 2020 MLB season, rumors that Boston Red Sox four-time All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts will be traded before the season begins have circulated incessantly throughout the offseason. The latest, as The Inquisitr reported, claims that the St. Louis Cardinals will be “aggressive” in their pursuit of Betts.
According to Peter Gammons, the baseball reporter considered the “dean” of all MLB journalists, the most frequent rumored destination for the 27-year-old Betts is actually the accurate one. Taking to his Twitter account on Sunday, just hours before the Super Bowl kicked off, Gammons reported that a trade of Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers now appears “inevitable.”
Citing three National League sources, Gammons also named the players who are considered the most likely candidates to be shipped east in exchange for Betts. The package, according to Gammons, would likely be highlighted by Dodgers lefty pitching prospect Caleb Ferguson, whom the veteran reporter described as possessing a 95 mph fastball, with a curve ball at his disposal as well.
Though he is only 23-years-old, Ferguson has been in the Dodgers’ system since 2014, when the club drafted him in the 38th round out of West Jefferson High School in Los Angeles. He made his big league debut in 2018, but last season was the first in which he opened the season on the Major League roster, according to Dodger Blue.
Ferguson threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings, all in relief, to start the season. By the end of April, the lefty found himself on the 10-day injured list.
The package is also likely to include left-handed hitting outfielder Alex Verdugo, according to Gammons. Verdugo, who was once considered to be among the organization’s top prospects, was putting together a solid season for Los Angeles in 2019 before back issues sidelined him in August. He ended the campaign with a respectable .817 OPS, with 12 home runs in 377 plate appearances.
Betts, on the other hand, put up what for him was considered an “off” year in 2019, according to Baseball Reference numbers, ending up with a .915 OPS and 29 home runs — down from his 2018 American League MVP season, but still enough to net him a $27 million, one-year contract for 2020. The Dodgers would inherit that contract if they are able to complete a trade for Betts.
Will the Dodgers actually follow through with the “inevitable” trade? L.A. Dodger Report was skeptical, saying that Los Angeles President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman would likely stand in the way.
“We should all know that Friedman would never acquire elite talent and never actually pay for premium talent,” the site wrote, noting that not only would the Dodgers be forced to surrender top prospects to get Betts, they would also need to sign him to an extended contract, which could run as high as $400 million in total value.