First Major League Baseball disciplines the Houston Astros for stealing signs in 2017.
Now, one of the league’s top superstars is on the move, and he’s headed across the country.
The Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins all confirmed the pertaining trades on Monday.
Betts is a Dodger.
And what did the Red Sox get in return for two players that have combined for nine all-star appearances, an MVP award and a Cy Young Award? Outfielder Alex Verdugo and two minor-league prospects — infielder Jeter Downs and catcher Connor Wong.
These are all long-term investments for the Red Sox. However, what they really wanted from this trade, and achieved, was immediate financial flexibility. Indeed, it’s already been a shocking off-season for MLB. For the moment, fans, executives and even certain players will have to make sense of the latest blockbuster trade between two familiar parties. The Dodgers and Red Sox are no strangers to big trades.
But the Red Sox’s latest swap has some people scratching their heads. Boston just shipped out their best player. Boston just traded away a franchise cornerstone, a hometown favorite and a likely Hall-of-Famer. All of those in one.
Betts shed some light on his thought process during the trade.
To put this latest trade into context, fans must not forget a strikingly similar trade these two teams made back in 2012.
2012 vs. 2020
Roughly eight years ago, in the midst of a brutal season, the Red Sox found themselves almost 14 games back of the American League East crown. Then general manager Ben Cherington would make a deal that changed the landscape of MLB for the next decade.
The Red Sox sent former all-stars Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers.
What did they receive in exchange?
The very next year, Boston won the World Series. Four years later, they secured another.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers have two painful World Series losses (2017 and 2018) to show since.
Crawford, Gonzalez and Beckett would all turn out to be busts for the Dodgers. The Red Sox essentially won that trade.
Why? James Shields. pic.twitter.com/qLeAn8tA0R
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) February 12, 2020
Is 2020 any different?
That’s not to say that Betts and Price will be failures in Los Angeles. All three players involved in the 2012 exchange were nearing the end of their careers. Betts is nowhere near that. He’s only 27 years old and entering the prime of his career.
Price, on the other hand, endured an injury-riddled campaign in 2019. He pitched in only 22 games and posted the second-worst ERA of his career (4.28). The Red Sox will pay roughly half of the $96 million that Price is owed on his three-year contract.
Price spoke about his health upon his arrival in LA.
Betts is due $27 million in 2020 — his final season under team control. The latter proved to be one of two reasons for the Red Sox actions.
The other was their need to get below MLB’s Competitive Balance Tax.
Boston’s expected payroll for 2020 will sit $18 million below the threshold.
It’s expected that most “Beantown” natives will miss Betts in Boston. He’s one of baseball’s most prolific young stars. But as Betts’ contract began to wind down, the Red Sox’s front office began to run out of options.
Only time will tell if Betts and Price look better in blue.
Thank you for it all, Mookie. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/3lvmgWtmtW
— Red Sox (@RedSox) February 11, 2020