Nobody wants to see me recreate the famous Spider Jerusalem column. Still, as I see it, Mookie Betts and David Price have escaped, fled to Los Angeles in a trade that doesn’t seem any more likely to yield a quality starter or a better positional player than we sent out. It’s a salary-dump akin to the Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez nine-player blockbuster deal of 2010.
I predicted that the Red Sox would trade Betts away last week, and it doesn’t feel good to be right. If Pete Rose can give Rob Manfred twenty pages about why he should be reinstated, I can bang out 500 words about this trade.
Although the deal has still not officially gone through – problems with medicals – it certainly seems as though the Red Sox will slide under the $208 million luxury tax threshold to reset their tax rate for future seasons. They’re even sending some cash to defer Price’s salary.
We cannot know how serious the penalty will be for the Alex Cora 2018 sign-stealing scandal, but we’re probably going to see the hammer come down and lose draft picks and international signing pool money.
Please come to Fenway this summer. Guns and Roses will be playing. But the Red Sox? They’re not in contention for 2020.
As for Betts and Price, hopefully, they can thrive in Los Angeles.
I did check to make sure that Graterol is, in fact, a real person and not Nick Punto in disguise. The Venezuelan pitcher has a good arm, but the experts think he’s going to be a bullpen guy. Verdugo is an outfielder and someone in the Red Sox front office is going to claim he is every bit as good as Mookie Betts, only cheaper. This isn’t true, but they’ll try and float it out there.
Graterol came over via the Twins and has already had a Tommy John surgery. Verdugo missed the final two months of the season with an injury. Any time you can trade your best player and your number three starting pitcher to an organisation as talent-rich as the Los Angeles Dodgers and not come away with any of their top prospects, you’ve got to just think about how many tyres your yacht needs and pull the trigger.
Pay no mind to the hole in the rotation; you’re giving Brian Johnson a non-roster invite to Spring Training! He’ll pick it up or maybe, just maybe, you can coax 200 innings out of someone who will only cost league-minimum.
I’ve seen others suggest that the payroll savings will enable the Red Sox to have more flexibility in the coming seasons, but why would anyone want to join this organisation?
The Betts trade would have been better off at either last season’s trade deadline or this upcoming one.
Thanks for reading (and Pete Rose should be let into the Hall of Fame in the same way that the Boston Red Sox should not have traded their best player for pennies on the dollar).
Photo courtesy of Craig Walker (Boston Globe), Billy Weiss (Boston Red Sox) via Getty
Ben King is a guest writer for Bat Flips and Nerds.
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