The Big Mookie Betts Deal Is Finally Happening, but the Dodgers-Angels Trade Isn’t

Editor’s Note: This piece has been updated to reflect Jair Camargo’s trade to the Twins from the Dodgers as part of those teams’ Kenta Maeda/Brusdar Graterol swap.

On Tuesday, word got out that Mookie Betts would be traded to the Dodgers. Over the course of the week, the trade moved from a seeming certainty to something less so, as the Red Sox reportedly raised concerns about the health of prospect Brusdar Graterol. With spring training just days away, the players were stuck in limbo as the teams tried to renegotiate. Now it appears those negotiations have borne fruit, with a new deal finalized per reports from Jeff Passan, Ken Rosenthal, and Chad Jennings. And in a bit of good news after the indecision of the last four days, Alex Speier is reporting that the player medical evaluations are done, with only league approval of the money heading to Los Angeles holding up the official finalization of the trade.

The original deal was a three-team swap involving the Dodgers, Twins, and Red Sox, with a follow-up trade between the Angels and Dodgers. But Sunday’s moves involve two discrete trades between the Dodgers and Red Sox, and the Dodgers and Twins. And that Dodgers-Angels deal? It is not happening, per Ken Rosenthal.

Let’s look at the finalized version of each trade.

Trade 1: Dodgers/Red Sox

Dodgers Receive:

  • OF Mookie Betts
  • LHP David Price
  • $48 million to pay David Price’s $96 million salary over the next three years.

Red Sox Receive:

What’s new: The Red Sox were previously set to receive Minnesota pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol. With the Twins now out of the deal, the Dodgers will send along Jeter Downs and Connor Wong to complete the trade. We also now know the cash considerations for David Price.

Jay Jaffe wrote up the previous iteration of this trade on Wednesday, so let’s focus on the newer aspects of this trade. I asked our own Eric Longenhagen for his evaluation of both Downs and Wong. He had this to say about Downs:

Downs has been a polished, advanced hitter for his age dating way back to high school. He’s not a shortstop for me and his thicker lower half means his likely future home is as a shift-aided second baseman at maturity, in my opinion. He’s short back to the ball with some pop, and his swing is bottom-hand heavy, which leaves him somewhat vulnerable to velo in on his hands, but he’s selective enough to swing at pitches he can damage. Despite the patience and bat control, I think he ends up with closer to average contact ability but with fully actualized power production, a well-rounded offensive profile that cleanly profiles at second base. His average exit velo was 88 mph last year, and there’s not a lot of room on the body so that might be all. He’s a 50 FV prospect set to be around 60th overall on Wednesday’s Top 100.

As for Wong, Longenhagen said:

Wong is a multi-positional defender who can also play catcher. His is another swing the Dodgers have tweaked since college, when Wong was more contact-oriented. He has average raw power but lifts the ball. His approach is an issue and I think it’ll prevent him from being a full-time player, but his ability to catch and play on the infield will make him a cool role player who gives Boston’s big league roster defensive flexibility.

If we want to compare this deal to the one the Red Sox backed out of — and we definitely do want to compare them — Boston did slightly better in the current iteration. They grabbed a similarly ranked prospect to Graterol in Downs and got an extra player in Wong. Ultimately, the Red Sox got the financial relief they so coveted, as well as a decent, recently graduated prospect, a solid prospect, and a potential role player. In a vacuum, it’s a fair deal, with Boston getting lesser prospects for one year of one of the game’s best players because they attached a lot of David Price’s contract to the bargain. For Boston fans, the deal sucks. The Red Sox didn’t need to back off from contention and trade Mookie Betts. The deal serves principally to increase the Red Sox’s profits with a small increase in their competitive position some years down the line.

As for the Dodgers, Brendan Gawlowski wrote late last week about the unbalanced NL West. This deal keeps San Diego from potentially getting close to unseating Los Angeles; Betts in the fold will help ensure the Dodgers are huge favorites for the division in 2020, and provides the team with a better shot at a championship.

Trade 2: Dodgers/Twins

Dodgers Receive:

  • RHP Brusdar Graterol
  • OF Luke Raley
  • Minnesota’s Competitive Balance Pick in 2020 (67th overall)

Twins Receive:

What’s New: Graterol goes to Los Angeles instead of Boston. The Dodgers also receive outfielder Luke Raley and a draft pick, while the Twins receive cash to pay for Maeda’s salary and catching prospect Jair Camargo. The only aspect of the deal that’s retains its original form is Maeda going to the Twins.

Jaffe’s piece covered Maeda and Graterol. With the Twins’ list already completed, here’s the scouting report on Raley, who received a 35+ FV grade:

Raley is a plus runner underway despite his size, and has big raw power that the Dodgers did well to tease out in games before trading him to Minnesota as part of the 2018 Brian Dozier deal. While explosive in some ways, Raley is stiff and unathletic, and at times an adventure on defense. He could end up as a bat-only bench outfielder, or low-end platoon option.

Longenhagen noted the following on Camargo when I asked:

Camargo is a very physical 20-year-old catcher, who is currently an average receiver and going to an org that has shown an ability to improve how catchers frame. His bat head drags into the zone, which causes him to be late, but he’s so strong that he can still make impact contact the other way. His exit velos are huge for a 20-year-old: 91 mph on average with a hard hit rate of 47%, which is a 65 on the scale. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the body and how that impacts his ability to catch, and his approach is enough of an issue that it will likely detract from the power production. He’s going to be a 35+ FV on a soon-to-be updated Twins list.

The draft pick heading to Los Angeles has generally been worth around $4 million, though this year’s draft does look deeper than normal. Even so, that the Twins received $10 million for Maeda’s salary indicates the Dodgers had to sweeten the deal slightly to get it done.

As for the Joc Pederson/Ross Stripling deal that fell through, the Dodgers seem to have an extra outfielder and an extra swingman available to make a few more minor moves. In the end, the Dodgers provided a little more value to Minnesota but got a good pitching prospect, while they provided a lot more value to Boston, mitigated mostly by receiving Graterol. The Dodgers sweetened the deals slightly for both trade partners. Their reward is Mookie Betts. The Twins and Red Sox are slightly better off than they were Tuesday night. The Dodgers are just a lot better off.

We hoped you liked reading The Big Mookie Betts Deal Is Finally Happening, but the Dodgers-Angels Trade Isn’t by Craig Edwards!

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Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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Brad
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Brad

Boston area sports team whining and shadiness works to their benefit yet again

drewsylvania
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drewsylvania

1) It takes at least two teams to trade.
2) Project much?

Leinhorn
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Leinhorn

Is there a way to read this as something other than “Red Sox ownership astonished that fan base dislikes trading generational star for future reliever; asks for do-over?”

fjtorres
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fjtorres

How about “Red Sox trade for future starter and discover an innings-limited reliever”?

olethros
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olethros

If the Red Sox didn’t know that Graterol was tabbed for the bullpen, they should have been forced to give Betts to the Orioles for nothing, and to pay his entire 2020 salary while doing so.

I, some random yahoo who follows baseball news somewhat closely, knew before this trade was initially announced that Graterol was a reliever. Maybe the Red Sox should hire me.

timprov
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timprov

It’s really too bad they didn’t Google “Brusdar Graterol” before they agreed to the trade. Or maybe there were just too many irrelevant results.

Joe Brady
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Joe Brady

Maybe, just maybe, what you read on Google, does not include MRIs. Everyone knows about the TJS and the shoulder impingement. That information is exactly 100% worthless without pictures of the shoulder and elbow.

knucka11
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knucka11

Try “Red Sox fail to do simple Google search that reveals team with exactly 2 starting pitchers is moving 21 year old starter to bullpen”

fjtorres
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fjtorres

Does tbe Google search say it’s because he’s physically at risk of injury? As opposed to being raw, not being stretched, or not having the manager’s trust?

sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

I’m going to argue with three parts of this:
1) The “future reliever” part is under dispute. The Red Sox think so, but it wouldn’t have been obvious to the fan base without the cues.
2) The problem isn’t exactly what they got back, it’s that they decided to trade a generational star, period, and that it appeared that money was the primary motivator.

sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

Oh, that was only two parts. Ha. That was because I was going to argue with a third part and then realized I was misreading who was asking for a “do-over”.

mikejunt
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mikejunt

Reliever risk, for sure. Guaranteed reliever, no.

Jerry1983
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Jerry1983

The elephant in the room that the Media everywhere are laughably avoiding is the question of Mookie Betts and the sign-stealing scam.

How much of Mookie’s production is attributed to the cheating scandal?

One of the greatest stories the Media are trying to ignore is that the players are also interested in this question come 2020 – they’re watching statistical drop-offs like a hawk to see who were the real-deal and who were the pretenders faking it on sign-stealing.

Personally, I’ll be watching Mookie’s Walk-Strikeout ratios specifically, and perusing his Plate Discipline, as well as specific values against breaking and off-speed pitches.

averagejoe15
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averagejoe15

The only elephant in the room is the mob in the corner holding their torches and pitchforks looking for something to yell at.

The sign stealing scandal contributed…basically nothing and marginal improvement at best. Assuming what has been reported is true, in the Red Sox iteration the signs were only relayed with runners on 2nd and potentially 1st. How much do you really think that propped up Mookie’s batting line or any other individual player? Not for nothing but Mookie hit lead off, so if this was going on he was relaying more signs than he was getting himself. Heck add that to his WAR total for 2018.

The Astros sign stealing scandal was more involved and its efficacy is questionable. The data we do have suggests the benefit was marginal for individuals and potentially several wins for the team overall. However, data itself is incredibly noisy so drawing concrete conclusions from it is almost impossible.

The teams stealing signs were clearly in the wrong and deserve punishment, what they were doing was in violation of the rules.

However, the fans are turning this into a witch hunt (much like PEDs). There are going to be fans yelling nonsense about star players who have a down year in 2020 and that it ‘must be because their team was stealing signs but stopped.’ Unfortunately, those types tend to be some of the loudest in the room.

notdeananna
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notdeananna

Tell that to the pitchers.

Calvo
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Calvo

I’m not sure you can conclude that the sign stealing did not contribute anything to player performance just yet. I’ve read the analysis thus far and they all seem to qualify that they don’t feel they can accurately determine how much of an impact the sign stealing had.
Moreover, I don’t think this saga is over yet. I’d like to know which players were wearing buzzers. The implications of buzzers seems a bit more extensive than the trash can banging analysis published on this site a couple days ago.

Jerry1983
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Jerry1983

Sure, it’s just a coincidence that Mookie Betts had his career year in 2018, the same year Alex Cora became Manager – and all his statistical spikes from walks to plate discipline had nothing to do with Cora’s sign-stealing – no help at all.

It was all Mookie

Let me put it another way.

I have a sneaky suspicion he won’t be spitting on sliders and splitters in 2020, as he did in 2108-2019.

Jerry1983
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Jerry1983

@averagejoe15

Your distraction and obfuscation won’t work.

For one, there is nothing wrong with a “Witch hunt” when there are indeed witches* (a loaded term that’s been corrupted by the historically illiterate, and “against” honest purveyors like McCarthy). Cheaters are also real, so hunting cheaters is not simply within bounds, it is a necessary hunt – and trying to make a pejorative like “Witch hunt” out of attempts to identify and punish cheaters exposes your real motives.

The real problem isn’t “hunting” liars, cheats, and stealing.

The real problem is protecting liars, cheats and stealing.

THAT is why the MSM and MLB are taking a hit – they are protecting cheats, lying and gas-lighting their fans and preventing an honest appraisal – they are preventing the discrimination between the honest players and the dirty ones.

The obvious reason is that the MLB and MSM want to protect the lying, cheating, thieving players – while at the same time casting a pall over honest players – exactly as happened in the PED “scandal”. It is not a mistake that those connected to PEDs whom the jourmalists favored (particularly in the NFL and NBA) were shielded from scrutiny for using PEDs – even though PEDs were largely an open secret, one that Ken Caminiti and Jose Canseco wanted to open an honest dialogue over. Indeed, many MLB players wanted to have that open dialogue.

Take a guess which players, journalists and leagues (not just the MLB and Selig) didn’t want that kind of a level playing field (yes, it involves a lot of things including politics, economics, and race).

In this case, the media are largely absent from doing any investigation or asking the ringleaders from Beltran to Cora WHO THE PLAYERS in the clubhouse actively promoted and used this system.

Would it be because not all players willingly or actively acquiesced to their system?

Would it be because Beltran and Cora realized that some players were “unreliable” (aka “honest”) and chose only a small circle of players to run their system?

Would it be that some players actively backed Hinch and tried to shut the system down?

MSM and the MLB doesn’t want anyone to know.

Everybody knows Selig and the MSM were well aware of the PED “problem” almost a decade before – Caminiti openly used it not as his own “innovation” but simply using a well-heeled method of recovery from the NFL – who gets full credit for the “innovation. That the MSM deliberately covered up this aspect of Caminiti’s story is instructive of how the media and operated and how the MLB reacted.

*[In medieval times, there were Evil Men who had to be punished – drawn-quartered, disemboweled, hanged, odd and brutal to you perhaps, but all the more justified.

And though some might find this surprising: there were also Evil Women too. These women famously had a habit of poisoning people – sometimes their own families – with “potions”, and spreading evil gossip to ruin people’s reputations and turn communities against each other, called “Spells”.

Such Women were called “Witches”, and they were as real then, as they are now.

(And just as deserving of being burned at the stake)

Classic stories are built on this age-old truism; “Double Double, toil and trouble” of Shakespearean lore, poisoned apple of Snow White, Wicked Witch of the West, etc.

And today it’s no different, because Men and Women are hard-wired as different as always: you’ll still find that the preferred method of murder by Women is to use poison – 100+ fold more than Men – and that Women have a propensity to spread ugly rumors amongst each other – and against each other – compared to Men (who are ridiculed as “Women” when they use such methods). After all, “Real Men” prefer to use “trial by combat”.]

Lanidrac
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Lanidrac

Witch hunts with actual witches may be acceptable, but McCarthy was certainly not an honest purveyor. He used horrendous methods that ruined the lives of dozens of people who were completely innocent of any Communist association. When hunting witches, make sure you still follow proper investigative and legal procedures to avoid punishing the falsely accused as much as reasonably possible.

Jerry1983
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Jerry1983

There is literally not a single person he accused who was not proven to be a to be a Communist, from Alger Hiss to Army Intelligence officers.

Kevbot034
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Kevbot034

What in the actual hell are you talking about

sadtrombone
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sadtrombone

Any rant that goes off on “the MSM” and about how witches actually exist deserves the Serbian-Vietnamese-French treatment. And that’s before we get to the attempted rehabilitation of Joe McCarthy.

TerryMc
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TerryMc

Wait, I’ve got some important intel on this issue inside a pumpkin out back…
Thankful the MSM in the form of Edward R Murrow helped shine the light on the HUAC and McCarthy.

drewsylvania
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drewsylvania

This entire subthread makes me weep for the future.