Mookie Betts Trade Rumors: Ranking the 4 Top Landing Spots for Red Sox All-Star

John Healy
January 29, 2020 - 1:47 pm

The trade talk surrounding Boston Red Sox All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts is starting to heat up.

According to Lou Merloni on WEEI, the Red Sox and Betts have been more the $100 million apart in negotiations, and other reports have surfaced of discussions actively taking place.

The 2018 AL MVP will make $27 million in 2020 before he hits free agency at the end of the year, and is looking for an extension, while the Red Sox are looking to cut payroll.

If negotiations are indeed that far apart and trade discussions have taken place, it is highly likely Mookie Betts could be suiting up for another team in 2020.

Here are those possibilities:

The Favorites

Los Angeles Dodgers

It feels as if the Dodgers are the favorites in the Mookie Betts sweepstakes. They are among the teams the Red Sox have reportedly been talking to, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe, and have the farm system to make a deal happen.
The Red Sox, however, still have a talented team that could compete in 2020, and would likely want a major league player, or major league-ready player as part of the deal.

Shortstop Gavin Lux and right-hander Dustin May are likely off the table, but catcher Keibert Ruiz is the next-best prospect, but his path is blocked by 24-year-old catcher Will Smith. Pairing Ruiz with a mid-level pitching prospect could be enough to entice the Red Sox. Or perhaps the Dodgers try to hold onto their top prospects and convince the Red Sox of a salary dump by including David Price’s exorbitant contract into the package.

Parting with Price may make the Red Sox less competitive, but they may be willing to include him in a package with Betts if it means shedding all that salary. They would definitely be willing to do it if the package still has a top prospect in a top farm system, like the Dodgers.

Red Sox Mookie Betts rounds the bases after homering against the Blue Jays.
Photo credit Getty Images

San Diego Padres

The Padres are the other team that has reportedly been discussing Betts with the Red Sox. According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres would be willing to send two young major leaguers, at least one prospect, and Wil Myers in exchange for Betts. Myers is owed $67.5 million over the next three seasons, with a team option for 2023. So, the Padres would likely also have to take on David Price’s contract for any deal to happen.

The Padres also have a loaded farm system that could be enough to sway the Red Sox into a deal centered around Myers. Mackenzie Gore is the top pitching prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline, but it’s hard to see San Diego giving him up for a one-year rental. They do have four other prospects in MLB Pipeline’s top 100, including Taylor Trammel, who could succeed Betts in the outfield once he’s major league ready. As far as major leaguers, the Padres could include Manuel Margot, or flip recently acquired Tommy Pham for Boston to replace Betts. Pitchers could include affordable veteran Drew Pomeranz, or controllable young left-hander Joey Lucchesi, although the former seems more likely.

Red Sox OF Mookie Betts celebrates a victory with Alex Cora.
Photo credit Getty Images

Keep an Eye On

St. Louis Cardinals

It feels as if the Cardinals still have one big move left to make before the start of the 2020 season. They have been closely linked to Nolan Arenado, but if they cannot land the third baseman, perhaps they turn their attention to Betts. They acquired pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore, who many think could be flipped for Arenado or Betts. Jon Heyman noted that Red Sox GM Chaim Bloom was big on Liberatore when he was with the Rays, so that could be enough to at least grab his attention.

The Cardinals may also feel pretty confident in dealing a top tier prospect and re-signing Betts, too, as they have just three players under contract beyond the 2021 season. So, while the Cardinals may not be in active trade talks like the Padres and Dodgers, they are certainly worth keeping tabs on with regards to Betts.

Longshot

New York Mets

The Mets were rumored to be in on Starling Marte before he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks, so there is definitely interest in adding an outfielder. Brodie Van Wagenen has been aggressive in the past and certainly views his team as a contender. The only chance the Mets would have at Betts is if the Red Sox do not force David Price as part of a package deal.

Even if the Mets could get just Betts, they would need to include someone to make Betts’ salary a little more palatable. Jed Lowre, who is set to make $10 million this season, would make a lot of sense in that regard, but may not be enough for Boston. The Mets could pair him with a major league-ready prospect like Dom Smith, who does not really have a position on the team. They also have plenty of infield prospects, such as Ronny Mauricio, Brett Baty and Andrews Gimenez that could maybe persuade the Red Sox.

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