David Price

Why A's should be seen as big winners of revised Mookie Betts trade


Why A's should be seen as big winners of revised Mookie Betts trade

The A's likely were big fans of the original trade that would have sent outfielder Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers. They're likely even bigger fans of the adjusted trade that reportedly was agreed to Sunday.

The main structure of the trade remains unchanged, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. Betts and Price are still going to the Dodgers, while outfield prospect Alex Verdugo is the main piece going back to the Red Sox.

Since 2015, Betts' first full season in the majors, these are his finishes in the AL MVP voting: 19th, second, sixth, first and, most recently, eighth. Him departing the league for the NL can't be seen as anything other than a major positive for Oakland.

But hold on. It gets better.

As part of the original trade, the Dodgers had also reportedly agreed to trade outfielder Joc Pederson to the Los Angeles Angels in a salary dump. But for whatever reason, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Sunday that the trade between the Dodgers and Angels is now off, citing sources.

Pederson is coming off a season in which he slashed .249/.339/.538 and hit a career-high 36 home runs to go with 74 RBI. That's a power bat that would have likely played a prominent role for a divisional rival, who now ... won't. It's always possible the two Los Angeles teams could come back to the bargaining table, but at least for the time being, it appears the A's lucked out.

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Unless you're worried about a few good prospects on a team that just agreed to trade away one of the best baseball players on the planet, it's difficult not to view the results of Betts trade as a tremendous development for Oakland.

How changes to Dodgers' trade for Mookie Betts could help, hurt Giants

How changes to Dodgers' trade for Mookie Betts could help, hurt Giants

The original three-team trade that would have sent outfielder Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers was very bad for the Giants, at least in the immediate. The revised trade that will send Betts from Boston to Los Angeles still is largely terrible for San Francisco, but the changes from the original could make it either a better or worse trade for the Giants, depending on your perspective.

Originally, the Dodgers would have acquired Betts and pitcher David Price from the Red Sox while sending outfield prospect Alex Verdugo to Boston and pitcher Kenta Maeda to the Minnesota Twins. Minnesota was supposed to send pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol to the Red Sox as part of the three-team trade, but Boston reportedly had concerns about Graterol's medical reports, which ultimately caused the Red Sox to pull out of the deal.

Several days later, the three sides appear to have figured things out, as the Dodgers, Red Sox and Twins reportedly agreed to two separate trades Sunday that will accomplish much of what the original would have.

The end result: ESPN's Jeff Passan reported the Dodgers will receive Betts and Price from the Red Sox in exchange for Verdugo, shortstop prospect Jeter Downs and catcher/infield prospect Connor Wong, citing sources. 

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported Los Angeles separately will send Maeda and cash to Minnesota in exchange for Graterol, outfield prospect Luke Raley and the 67th pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, citing a source.

Got all that?

So, the Dodgers got the superstar they were after, the Twins added Maeda and the Red Sox ... ducked the luxury tax.

From a Giants perspective, the Dodgers' forced inclusion of Downs and Wong has to be considered a positive, as their departures will help deplete Los Angeles' robust farm system. However, the acquisitions of Graterol and Raley might balance that out.

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In fact, the biggest impact on San Francisco could be regarding a trade that ultimately didn't happen. Originally, the Dodgers agreed to send outfielder Joc Pederson to the Los Angeles Angels in a salary dump, but as a result of the adjustments, that additional trade reportedly is off, according to Rosenthal. That would keep Pederson and his 36 home runs from last season in Dodger blue for the time being.

Any way you slice it, Betts going to the Dodgers is a disaster for the Giants. However, given the huge gap currently existing between San Francisco and Los Angeles, that acquisition is unlikely to make a big difference in the immediate.

Down the line, though, we might look back on the adjustments to the trades as a blessing in disguise for the Giants -- or for their eternal rivals.

Dodgers' trade for Mookie Betts is type Giants are building toward now

Dodgers' trade for Mookie Betts is type Giants are building toward now

In theory, it's a statement that should annoy, depress and frighten Giants fans. 

The Dodgers reportedly have traded for Mookie Betts.

Betts might be the game’s best baseball player not named Mike Trout, and there's no way to downplay the significance from the Dodgers' perspective. They already were the overwhelming NL West favorite and an easy pick to get back to the World Series. Betts just solidifies that position, but for the Giants and their fans, this really doesn't mean all that much.

You're living in Candy Land if you thought the Giants were going to compete with the Dodgers in 2020 before this move, so that needle isn't moved much. The Dodgers surely hope Betts falls in love with Los Angeles, wins a championship and decides to stay long-term as the new face of the franchise. But Betts, like every marquee free agent, will go where the biggest contract is, so there's no guarantee that the Giants will have to deal with him when they're more capable of putting their own playoff run together.

If anything, the Giants figure to be in on Betts next offseason. He is a generational talent, the type you build your franchise around, and the Giants -- two years removed from offering Bryce Harper $310 million -- should be right there with the Dodgers and other heavyweights (the Red Sox somehow decided they no longer are one) when the bidding begins. This is the type of free agent San Francisco has been waiting for.

If Betts doesn't end up in Los Angeles beyond this year, the Dodgers reportedly will move forward without Alex Verdugo, a potential future star who was the main price for acquiring Betts and David Price's contract. They're still loaded, absolutely loaded, but every lost young player helps if you're the team chasing them down. 

For the Giants, this trade should be viewed just one way: This is exactly who they want to become. 

Farhan Zaidi helped build this Dodgers behemoth and has spent 15 months in accumulation mode with the Giants, with Scott Harris picking up some of the heavy lifting this offseason. The Giants added young players like Mauricio Dubon and Jaylin Davis last summer, got an extra first-round talent in December by taking on Zack Cozart's contract, and signed Kevin Gausman, Drew Smiley and others to small deals that could allow them to be used as the next Drew Pomeranz and bring the next Dubon to Oracle Park. 

Most importantly, the Giants have continued to shy away from adding future payroll commitments -- the overshadowed Wilmer Flores has been the only player to get a multi-year deal under Zaidi -- and they have resisted the urge to trade their own prospects in hopes of finding a quick fix. 

The Dodgers still have the better farm system, but in Marco Luciano, Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos, Hunter Bishop and others, the Giants can finally see their future. The hope is that a new core is forming in Sacramento and Richmond and San Jose, one capable of getting the Giants back into the playoff mix in 2021 and beyond -- and doing so at pre-arbitration salaries that allow for expensive additions like Betts and Price. The key will be finding another wave of prospects behind the one that's coming, and that's what the Dodgers have done so brilliantly. 

They could trade Verdugo because they already have Cody Bellinger. They could trade Joc Pederson in a separate deal because they have Corey Seager and Gavin Lux and Will Smith and Max Muncy and others providing more than enough offensive production. They could trade Kenta Maeda for a prospect to complete the three-team deal because they have Walker Buehler and Julio Urias and Dustin May and more on the way. They could take on Price's money because they quietly have cleared their own books in recent years, with all those starting spots being filled by kids. 

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The Giants are getting there. It's a slow process, but they're far further along than they were a year ago, and with a coaching staff focused on player development and a new minor league facility on the way, they're going all-in on their next generation. They weren't anywhere close enough to full growth to even think about discussing a deal like this one, but the hope is that the organization will be competitive, financially flexible and loaded with tradable assets the next time a player like Betts becomes available.