The Mookie Betts Rumors Are Back

The Mookie Betts trade rumors are back in full force. Reports are indicating that the two sides have reengaged discussions on a deal that could send Betts and possibly starting pitcher David Price to the Dodgers. According to the reports the Padres are also involved as well. Apparently the Red Sox are trying to move Betts before spring training camps break in a couple of weeks.

My opinion on the topic remains the same. I’ll believe it when I see it. If the Dodgers were to pull the trigger and acquire Betts, I would gladly eat some crow. Betts is a fantastic player, one of the best in baseball and well worth parting with prospects and or cash. The Dodgers have the money and the prospects to make this happen. The Padres have the prospects but don’t have the cash resources the Dodgers do. Imagine if the Padres were to strike a deal, and how belligerent Dodger fans would be. I would be too.

Boston’s motives seem a bit strange to me. They just recently came to an agreement with Betts through arbitration on a one-year 27 million dollar contract. Betts is a free agent after the 2020 season but it seems odd that the Red Sox would not try to retain their franchise hitter. After all the Red Sox are one of the richest teams in Baseball. If the Red Sox are claiming not to be able to afford to resign Betts next winter, then what teams could? Boston is one of the top 5 payroll clubs in baseball. Perhaps the Dodgers and Yankees have higher payrolls and larger revenues, but I can’t think of any other teams that do.

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According to reports Boston is trying to reduce payroll. This still seems weird to me. Again considering they are one of the wealthiest teams in MLB. You would think that they would want to keep their best player. Dumping Betts would reset their payroll and clear salary space but it would make them considerably less competitive. If they are trying to get back to the postseason and stay current with the Yankees in the AL East, this is not a good way to do it.

Yet the Red Sox are also trying to dump Price’s contract. The Dodgers would have to eat some of that if they wanted to acquire Betts. Again this is Andrew Friedman. When was the last time anyone saw Friedman make a trade that increased payroll? Never is the answer.

If the Dodgers are unwilling to take on a good portion of Price’s contract and part with a few prospects then I don’t see this deal coming together. You would think that Boston would also want two or three of the Dodger’s prized young prospects. Perhaps players like Dustin May, Josiah Gray, or Alex Verdugo have been floated around in talks. Friedman has traded prospects in the past but not high ceiling or organizational prospects like any of those guys. Especially ones that fit so importantly in the Dodger’s 2020 plans.

Perhaps a deal ends up happening and I have to answer a lot of questions from readers calling me out for doubting Friedman. I would gladly do this if that meant the Dodgers picked up Betts. He’s primarily a right fielder so that could mean Cody Bellinger spends most of 2020 in center and A.J. Pollock shifts permanently to left. Hey whatever, I am good with that. I have no problem admitting I was wrong. Just make the deal happen or stop with these lame rumors.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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45 thoughts on “The Mookie Betts Rumors Are Back

  1. Well Scott, one of the big reason’s is that they offered him a contract for 10/300 million and he turned it down, and then sent them a counter offer 12/420. Now, I know he is 27 but a contract like that takes him to age 40, and I am pretty sure the last 5 or so years he is not going to be worth that kind of money. And I also am pretty sure Ol Andy ain’t paying that kind of cash to any player. So it would be one and done for Betts. Me, I do not pay a whole lot for a rental, and with 96 mil left on Price’s contract, I pass on him too.

  2. Looks to me like Boston is trying to get under the cap so they can go after free agents, Mookie being the most obvious. Whoever takes on Price is more likely to get the Mookie rental.

    Let’s face it, it’s about rings and Boston and Houston are ahead of the curve. Baseball doesn’t care how you do it, just win. I say f ‘em. Keep Verdugo and our prospects and roll the bones at the deadline.

    1. Scott’s very last sentence here says it all;
      “Just make the deal happen or stop with these lame rumors.”
      The only thing else to ad is that no team can keep them all as far as prospects go. but I am NOT advocating dealing the very cream of the prospect crop for a 1 year rental.

  3. Red Sox are in triple repeater tax level this year. Yankees are much better, the Sox were disappointing last year and their farm system isn’t great. They also do not want to pay Betts what he’s asking for, north of 400 million. They’re also awaiting MLB penalties for their sign stealing.

    Lot of reasons Sox want to trade him.

    1. Sign stealing won’t hurt them much. It’s the tax thing. One year below it, 2020, and they are back in the hunt. They will be in on Mookie, you can place your Betts on that. (yeah, I know). All they have to do is find a taker on Price, pay enough to get rid him while sliding under the cap, then give Mookie $350m after that. Nobody will go higher, especially after a 2020 where he doesn’t put up 7+ WAR wherever he goes. He’ll be 28, past his prime, and only a couple teams will be in on the bidding. I won’t predict where he ends up as a free agent but I’m guessing not LA.

  4. Right now, the Dodgers seem perfectly fine including Verdugo in a deal. He seems to be the center piece of their offer. Gonsolin and Downs the 2 prospects most often mentioned going with him. No Lux, May or Ruiz. Padres package centers around their top catching prospect and a couple of others, but they want Myers contract included in the deal. Don’t look now. Zac Rosscup is back in the NL West. Signed a deal with the Rockies today.

    1. Michael, IDK if I would include all 3 of those players ya mentioned for Betts. After all Betts IS AND WILL BE a 1 year rental. However, what Boston may do is tell Dodgers that if they cannot get who they may want in a deal, then they would push to deal him to the Padres. Honestly if the Padres get him Freidman’s life just got a heck of a lot more difficult

      1. Only for a year. Pads are going to be better already without Betts. But they have no shot of signing him in free agency either. He is going to be one of the bigger ticket free agents ever. I would not doubt he passes Harper’s deal. The Padres finished 36.5 games back. That is a lot to make up. The Dodgers, even with the roster they have right now, are projected to win 95-98 games. SD even with Betts gets to maybe 84. Their pitching is ok. Their bullpen is damn good. But the offense is still not close to the Dodgers, and most of their depth is in the minors and not MLB ready yet. Betts makes them a little better, but not 36 games worth. Pads have no shot at re-signing him. He will go where he will get the most money, which means NY, or back to Boston because they will have a lot of room under the tax. No chance he comes to LA with at least 400 mil on the table.

  5. Badger if you claim that players are past their prime at 28 then you would never sign a star free agent. IF this board believes that then why all the criticism that AF never signs a top free agent?

    1. I stat the facts. Players prime years are 22-28. Those 7 years are when the most WAR is put up. Those are the facts and they are not disputed.

      I’ve said this many times… this doesn’t mean they won’t be productive in the next 7 years, it simply means they will not be AS productive. Consider this when gauging what you intend to pay them.

      The name of the game now is develop your own and be selective with free agent purchases. We’ve had a lot of dead and dying money on our ledger for several years. It’s my opinion that what Friedman is now attempting to do is the right strategy. It’s about team control. Draft and develop. Bring up one or two terrific players every year, keep our best talent paid properly through the arb years and extend one or two each year. Keep below or near the cap every year. When that big star still under 30 wants to play here, make sure we have the space to bring them in.

      We are winning and we are developing. It’s also my opinion that if Houston and Boston weren’t cheating we may have won BOTH those series’. And that supports my judgment that the Dodgers are doing it right.

      What are Mookie’s 5 year projections for age 28-32? I’m sure Friedman has his own book on it. My guess is it won’t be as high as the 5 years leading up to it but it certainly could average 5 WAR a year, making him worth $35 million. It also appears that he may be one of those rare athletes that doesn’t get injured. He also may be one of those guys that outworks everyone on the team and by example makes everyone around him better. I don’t know any of this. But Friedman does. If he’s the guy I hope we get him and keep him.

  6. While I agree we have a legit case that we were robbed in17. Tho we did lose both games 2and 7 at home. In 18 we still don’t have a verdict on how or if Boston cheated and again we lost 2 out of 3 games at Dodger stadium. And our offense got shut down by their pitching. We just were not good enough in 18.

  7. And Turner sure produced from his 28-34 years. If I had to give out a big contract and roll the dice I think Betts and Cole are two guys worth the money. If not a top 5 guy then when do you ever make a move? We need to add someone special to this group to get a championship and I think AF feels the same way

  8. Turner is not really a good example. He never got much of a chance until he came to the Dodgers, and he was 29 when that happened. He has been productive, no doubt of that, but he has only played over 150 games once in his career. Two of his 6 years with the Dodgers he barely played over 100 games. His biggest asset to the team is his leadership and his consistency. He is also probably the best post season hitter on the team. Now as for Betts, the guy is a legitimate talent, that is a no brainer. But in my eyes giving the guy what he asked from Boston, 12/420 is borderline nuts. He might be great the first 6 years of that deal, and then the next 6 you are stuck paying a huge amount of money to a player who is on the decline. There is no guarantee he won’t get hurt. My gut feeling is that he is not going to re-sign with the Dodgers if he gets traded here, so that begs the question, what is a one year rental with his skill set worth? Are the Dodgers going to help Boston cut salary again? I have seen numerous trade scenario’s. Verdugo is at the center of most of them. He seems to be a player the Sox really want. Dodgers are insistent on not including Lux or May. So now you move on down the prospect road to the next tier which includes guys like Gonsolin, Gray, Ruiz, Downs. If Price is part of the deal, then do the Dodgers take on all of that salary>>? I would think that AF would not be down with that since it would send them way over the tax. In that scenario, Boston has to take someone back in trade who offsets that cost. Only player who would make any kind of a dent in the 59 million in salary those 2 make, is Pollock, who is making 18 this year. That is still adding 41 million to what they are paying now. If they can make a deal without adding Price to it, I see no problem sending them some guys who will probably not play here in LA. Verdugo is good, but he is no Betts. And right now he is also damaged goods. He is not even doing any baseball related activities.

  9. I also have a theory that no matter how close they are to a deal, nothing is going to be announced or completed until after the Stupor Bowl. Some thought it would be announced this weekend. MLB.com seems to think that most of the details have already been worked out. LA seems to be the choice of most of the pundits because the Padres are still adamant about including Myers, and the Sox really do not want the guy. Talk about an albatross of a contract.

    1. Yeah, I figured next week. This week has been too much for LA.

      Friedman did make an offer on Cole Cassidy. He’s also made substantial offers on other players. It’s not like me never does it. He will if he believes it’s the right thing to do. I don’t think $420 million is the right thing to do. Depending on what he does this year, Betts will likely get 10 and $350m and the the last few years of that could be costly to the team that signs him.

  10. You’re right Michael the Myer’s contract is a bad one and the Hosmer one isn’t much better. At least AF hasn’t saddled us with a long term bad deal. Everyone is down on Pollock because he had such a horrific playoff but when healthy he was productive last year and I think he will be even better this year and he’s not costing us a fortune. I don’t think anyone is giving Betts a 12 year deal. That’s is what he’s asking for but I think it ends up 10 years at about 36-37 mil a year. I don’t think that there are very many teams that can do that deal next year. Yankee’s can’t and Boston doesn’t seem willing. Maybe Texas but I think he’s ours for the taking if we want him. Interesting what he produces this year who Cora ball!

  11. https://library.fangraphs.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2015/12/aging_curve_wrcp.jpg

    Using age anomalous quadratic fitting functions this is what a typical aging curve looks like. By age 35 MOST players have lost 30-40 percent of their production, some less, some considerably more. Now if at age 25-27 you happen to be an 8 WAR player then losing 40% still allows you to be productive enough to warrant $30+million. Who are those players? No way of knowing who might be but there surely is of knowing who hasn’t been. The names on that list are numerous and the one closest to us is Kershaw. Clayton peaked at 25 at 8 WAR, put up 7.7 then 7.4 the following two years, then 5,4,3 to age 31. We also have Jansen who at age 31 dropped about 90% from his peak year of age 28.

    These are the kind of charts Friedman and his team of MIT-like analysts are looking at. You may not like this process but this is where baseball resides now. I don’t understand the details of course, I’m not an anomalous quadratic thinker, but I do acknowledge and respect the process being used. It clearly works. I find myself looking forward to what comes next. It’s a learning process for me.

  12. So again your point would be that AF will never sign any free agent to a long term contract? Scherzer and Verlander are 2 pitchers who have brought the bacon into their mid thirties and have won WS’s. And Cole will be next. What do the analytics say about that? Analytics is a tool and shouldn’t be the end all!

    1. If he doesn’t have to, why would he? And if he has to, I believe he will.

      I could see it happening with Bellinger or Buehler. And by long term I don’t mean 12 years, unless it’s a front loaded contract. We’ll just have to see where this goes.

      Are you Friedman haters all millennials? You sound like you feel entitled to a championship.

      How about we get Price and convince him to embrace Driveline. If he refuses we drug him then hypnotize him.

  13. Not at all. I’m an AF fan. I think he’s done a really good job! I’m just challenging your point about the number 28 years old. I don’t think that’s an end all as for not signing any free agent because it’s all downhill from there. Not everyone. I believe Cole was a guy to go all in on and AF did. I didn’t want Harper and Machado or anyone else from the last few years. AF hasn’t saddled us with a bad long term contract but I don’t think you never sign anybody. This team needs something big to get it over the top. I’d like a top starter but I wouldn’t pass up Betts if it’s within reason! And where does the entitled comment come from? Because I disagree with you?

    1. Because I hear so many fans griping about not winning a championship and wanting to pin blame on someone. Maybe I was out of line with that comment. My apologies to the few millennials I may have misjudged.

      I’ve posted a lot of information on peak years. This isn’t a stat I made up. And I never said don’t sign anybody. I say again, players don’t lose all their ability. And there are outliers that buck the odds. In the post steroid era only a few have performed extremely well into their mid 30s. Beltran and Beltre, Nelson Cruz is pretty good at 36, Verlander, Colon, Jamie Moyer, Joe Nathan peaked late, Hoyt Wilhelm, Randy Johnson was good a long time, Tom Seaver. I guess the list is long, but the list of players fading after 30 is much longer. I’m just saying one has to be careful. Look no further than the anchor contracts we carried for so long. Need I remind you of them?

    1. You’re welcome.

      If after another great year would I sign him for that much? Hell yes. Do I think Friedman would? Eh, flip of the coin. He might. Depends on what his algorithms tell him.

    1. It’ll be made.

      Then we hire a psychic that can predict what pitch is coming. That’s not cheating. It’s forecasting.

      0-7. Beaten twice by teams that had to cheat to do it. For all we know others did it toon.

  14. Well that’s seems to be the case with Boston so far and your taking that as fact right now. No report has been issued yet by the commissioner. Fake news so far!

    1. Innuendo.

      I really like that word. I like the way it reads, I like the way it sounds. “Take that innuendo!”

      New York Post headline “the evidence that could doom Red Sox in cheating scandal”, by Ken Davidoff, Pulitzer Prize winner. I made that last part up. Just waiting for the commish to say “nothing to see here, move along”.

  15. No word on any deal right now. I doubt anything happens until after the super bowl. There have been numerous reports that the biggest hang up is how much of Price’s contract LA has to pay. I believe he should not even be part of the deal. If he is, send them a less lucrative package. Hanging his contract on the Dodgers is not something I believe benefits the team in any way. As for giving Betts a long term deal. Player coming into his 29th birthday, I give no more than 8 years. I do not care who he is. 300 mil plus, but front load the contract. I do not want to be paying 30 mil plus to a declining player. But if you go by AF’s track record, sorry, Betts will be a rental. AF has never signed a big ticket player. He certainly has not given out any deal reaching 9 figures. I would like to know what makes anyone think he is going to change his spots for Betts?

  16. Gammons is reporting that a deal between the Dodgers and Sox for Betts is inevitable. And it looks like this Betts to LA for Verdugo, Ferguson, and Jeter Downs, and maybe one other prospect. No David Price. Boston gets a little over a million in salary with the deal and drop under the tax.

    1. Well, 3 players plus perhaps a 4th one going for just 1 year of Betts? IDK if I like it but what do you think about that? I guess ya have to give up something then in order to get something of value in return..

  17. Michael, very true that Betts WILL be just a 1 year rental because Dodgers won’t pay him even close to that 12 year $429 million he asked the Red Sox for. I fully concur with you here that Price should NOT be part of the deal. Boston has a lot of nerve if indeed they insist upon Dodgers taking on all of Price’s remaining deal AND still wanting top prospects as well in return. Forget that.

  18. Remember what Harper was asking for the year before his free agency. Nobody is giving Betts anywhere near that deal. And the competition isn’t there fr him. I think it’s between us and the Rangers

  19. The way I look at it, I look at Friedman first. History is no predictor of the future, but it is the best we have, especially when it comes to decisions that are made by men. Men just don’t change all that much year to year.

    So, looking at Friedman, is he going to shell the big bucks to keep Betts? Of course not. It is less than a 1% chance. Even if Betts puts up a 10 WAR year, Friedman would much rather pay a 6 WAR guy at 59.9% of the price of Betts. Or even at 60.1% of the price of Betts – Friedman will think the extra 0.2% price buys him “optionality” because it is an easier contract to move.

    And if Betts is just a one year deal. Friedman is not going to take on Price. The numbers are just bonkers and he will get absolutely crucified if he takes on both and Betts walks.

    By not taking on Price, Friedman will have to put up a lot of young players to land Betts at this point of the season. Verdugo, Ruiz plus 2 other MLB ready youngsters.

    At that point, someone will point out to Friedman, if we pay for Betts long term and lose all these cheap players, what do we do when it’s time to pay Seager, Bellinger, Urias and/or Walker Buehler?

    So I think this is all posturing until we get to the trade deadline in the summer.

    1. That makes sense. But it’s early and I haven’t had my coffee yet.

      I think Friedman really wants Betts. He wants this because with him, and a bold pitching pickup if needed in July, the Dodgers will be the team his slide rule says can win it all. If he walks he walks and we get a comp pick for him. If he likes it here he will make an offer. Kershaw, Turner and Jansen will all clear the books and we start over with Betts, Bellinger and Buehler. We may go over the CBT along the way but so what, we can afford it. Just win one, clean house a little, reset, and go do it again.

      This is the Friedman blueprint. Hope it works.

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