The importance of this latest Mookie Betts news

Rob Bradford
January 24, 2020 - 8:39 am
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We know that the Red Sox and Padres have discussed (and are discussing) the framework for a Mookie Betts trade, as was first reported by Dennis Lin of The Athletic.

Part of the equation is including outfielder/first baseman Wil Myers -- who has struggled in recent years in San Diego -- in any trade for Betts, along with high-end prospects. While Myers still carries a hefty price tag (living life with three more years left on his six-year, $83. million deal), his annual average value would be $13 million less than what the Red Sox are on the hook for with Betts in 2020. So when it comes to getting some highly sought-after salary relief, this could be part of the solution.

As for the idea of including David Price to free up more money, that doesn't seem a likely scenario with the Padres roughly around $10 million over their projected Opening Day payroll for 2020.

For the Red Sox the key remains getting back the absolute right players in return. The Boston Globe reports that San Diego has shown a willingness to surpass the haul Arizona managed when trading Paul Goldschmidt prior to last season, which included highly-regarded catcher Carson Kelly and top pitching prospect Luke Weaver. The difference may be that Goldschmidt showed an immediate willingness to sign a long-term extension with St. Louis, a path Betts doesn't seem inclined to follow wherever he might go.

Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom said last week that he expects Betts on the Red Sox Opening Day roster. That still seems to be the likely outcome.

But there are a few things to consider when it comes to this latest Betts news ...

1. It is well-documented that the team best positioned to trade for Betts is the Dodgers, a club the Red Sox have had conversations with. You know who is positioning themselves to be Los Angeles' chief competition in the National League West? Yes, San Diego.

With a foundation that includes Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer and a promising, young pitching staff San Diego certainly seems ready to contend. The Dodgers have to know that. They also understand that wherever Betts might land in that division greatly swings the pendulum toward the acquiring team.

2. The Red Sox have to believe that re-signing Betts has gotten at least a bit more complicated in the past few weeks. While the outfielder has repeatedly stated that his decision will be based in business, the absence of Alex Cora does not help Boston's cause. It is hard to imagine that Betts would commit to a team that carries uncertainty regarding who will be sitting in the manager's office. Betts liked playing for Cora, we don't know if he will enjoy playing for the next guy as much.

3. It really comes down to which is of more value to the Red Sox. The organization truly believes it doesn't have to trade Betts and hasn't actively shopped the outfielder. If the price coming back isn't right it is flat-out worth more to see what the All-Star will do to impact a possible 2020 run. The Sox can then gauge if they are OK with meeting Betts Mike Trout-esque price tag or if a pre-trade deadline deal (which could result in just as much as any offseason trade) can be hatched.

In the case of Betts, there remain plenty of fascinating questions, albeit no easy answers.