Just weeks away from spring training and there’s still uncertainty surrounding where superstar outfielder Mookie Betts will be playing in 2020.
Last week, Dennis Lin of the Athletic reported that the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres discussed the framework of a possible trade for the Nashville native and former Overton High School standout.
Betts and the Red Sox avoided arbitration, agreeing on a record-setting one-year, $27 million deal on Jan. 10. While the pay raise was justifiably earned, the hefty price tag clashes with Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom’s goal of shedding payroll to get Boston under the luxury-tax threshold.
“The team is weighing potential combinations of big leaguers and prospects offered by the Padres as well as the Dodgers and remains engaged with both teams about the possibility of a deal involving their superstar right fielder,” Boston Globe reporter Alex Speier said.
Kevin Acee of the San Diego Tribune reported that the Padres are willing to part with two, young major league players, a prospect and centerfielder Wil Myers, who hit .239 with 18 home runs and 53 RBIs last season.
However, the hold up in this scenario is Boston’s unwillingness to eat more of the $61 million Myers is owed over the next three seasons to make the financial side worthwhile for San Diego in what would surely be a one-year rental.
The Los Angeles Dodgers also remain one of the frontrunners to land Betts’ services given the abundance of top-level prospects and deep pockets. However, the Dodgers are likely to refuse including either of their top two prospects — pitcher Dustin May and outfielder Gavin Lux — in any deal for Betts.
“The fact that discussions are ongoing with multiple teams is not a guarantee that Betts will be dealt,” Speier continued. “It's possible that the Red Sox will enter the 2020 regular season with their superstar with the possibility of exploring his trade value at the deadline if the team is not clearly in contention. But the team's willingness to consider dealing the four-time All-Star and 2018 A.L. MVP appears serious.”
In addition to the money and player return side of a potential trade, Betts will be a free agent next season. And he’s already made it known he plans to test free agency and choose his next landing spot.
Surrendering the prospect haul and taking on a massive one-year contract is already enough to ask of any team potentially trading for Betts, but potentially losing him after one season is too big of a gamble — World Series win excluded — for most teams to take.
This post originally appeared in our sister publication, the Nashville Post.