According to the incomparable Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Dodgers and Red Sox have had preliminary discussions about a trade for Mookie Betts. Mookie has shown time and time again that he will not sign a long term deal in Boston. But the Dodgers, with their available players and payroll, seem willing to take a risk on Betts.
It Starts With Corey Seager
A trade for Mookie netting Corey Seager, as Nightengale posits, would be about as much of a gold strike as Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox could hope for. Seager continued a Dodger tradition, and was the National League Rookie Of The Year in 2016. When playing full time in three of the last four years he’s averaged 22 Home Runs, 79 RBI, a .291 Batting Average, and a .849 OPS. He’s only 26, a two time All Star, and currently making $7.1 Million in his second year of arbitration.
Seager lost a huge chunk of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. But he lead the league in 2019 with 44 Doubles, to go along with 19 Home Runs, showing he’s just about back to full strength. The Dodgers’ top prospect Gavin Lux is the Short Stop of the future, which is why Seager is available at all. Of course the Red Sox are set with Xander Bogaerts at SS, but could easily move Seager to Second Base. An infield with Rafael Devers at 3B, Xander at SS, Seager at 2B, and a Michael Chavis centered timeshare at 1B would be among the best in all of baseball. Seager would also be about $20 Million cheaper than Mookie Betts, opening up many possibilities for the rest of the Red Sox roster.
Standing in the way of this possibility is the Cleveland Indians, as Mookie will only be an option for the Dodgers if young All Star SS Francisco Lindor is not traded from Cleveland to LA. The Indians just traded away former two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber for what the consensus says is pennies on the dollar. That deal might have scuttled some David Price trade possibilities. Ironically, the pressure on Cleveland to not get less than equal value for Lindor because of the Kluber deal may make the Red Sox and Mookie Betts that much more attractive to the Dodgers.
Currently the Dodgers sit at $174.3 Million for Luxury Tax purposes. They’ve got more than enough room under the $208 Million threshold to add Betts for this year. And with aging Justin Turner coming off the books after 2020 they will have plenty of payroll flexibility going forward.
Mookie Betts is gone, now or at the end of the year next year. He keeps saying he wants to go to the market. The Red Sox should absolutely push for the chance to make their infield the strength that the outfield has been the last few years. Corey Seager in return is more than almost any team would give for Mookie. Here’s hoping the Indians blink.
Featured Image via Dodgers.com