In the most stunning, blockbuster trade of the past several years in Major League Baseball, the Boston Red Sox have reportedly sent 2018 American League MVP outfielder Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers, in a deal that also ships lefty hurler David Price to Chavez Ravine. The shocking move was reported by ESPN correspondent Jeff Passan on his Twitter account and quickly confirmed by other sources.
The deal could still face a roadblock if either player fails to pass a medical review, however. The Red Sox are reportedly transmitting medical records for Betts and Price to the Dodgers Tuesday night.
Betts, 27, will be playing his final season before he becomes eligible for free agency in 2020 and had reportedly spurned multiple offers from the Red Sox to sign an extension to his deal that would keep him in Boston into his 30s. Whether he would sign a contract extension in Los Angeles is not yet known.
He will earn $27 million this year, under the terms of a one-year contract he signed with Boston on January 10. That contract set an MLB record for the most expensive deal ever awarded to a player who was eligible for arbitration, according to NBC Sports. Also not yet publicly reported is whether the Red Sox have agreed to pay a portion of Betts’ $27 million salary as part of the trade agreement, or if the Dodgers will be responsible for paying Betts the entire amount.
Veteran baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal reported on his own Twitter account that the Dodgers have agreed to send 23-year-old outfielder Alex Verdugo to Boston as the “centerpiece” of a trade package in exchange for Betts and Price that would include other Los Angeles players and prospects.
But Rosenthal also reported that a “third team” could be somehow involved in the deal.
Verdugo was the Dodgers’ second-round draft pick in 2014, out of Sahuaro High School in Tucson, Arizona. Before suffering an injury in August of 2019, he hit 12 home runs in 377 plate appearances with a solid, though not spectacular.817 OPS last season.
But Betts, despite suffering a decline from his 2018 MVP season, posted a.915 OPS (that is, on-base percentage plus slugging average) in 2019, along with 29 home runs in 706 plate appearances. Betts also stole 16 bases and scored 135 runs — good enough to lead the AL in runs scored for the second consecutive year.
In four seasons with the Red Sox, Price, 34, won 46 games while losing 24. In the Red Sox’ 2018 championship-winning season, he won three postseason games — including two in the World Series against the Dodgers. Boston won that series in five games.
Despite winning the 2012 AL Cy Young Award, Price will be playing for the fifth Major League team of his 13-year career, if he ultimately suits up for the Dodgers.
On Sunday, the “dean” of baseball journalists, Peter Gammons, reported that a trade of Betts to the Dodgers was “inevitable,” based on reports from multiple sources in the National League. Based on the reports late Tuesday, Gammons’ prognostication appears to have become fact.