Mookie Betts

Why canceled 2020 MLB season would hurt Dodgers much more than Giants

Why canceled 2020 MLB season would hurt Dodgers much more than Giants

Giants fans want to watch their favorite team play baseball. This indefinite pause of the MLB season is no fun for anyone.

The league remains hopeful that some form of a 2020 season can take place, but there are numerous large hurdles to clear before getting to that point. In the event the 2020 season is ultimately canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, certain teams and players are going be disproportionally affected compared to others.

As part of the agreement between MLB and the Players Association last month, if the 2020 season is canceled, all players will receive the service time equal to what they accrued in 2019. So, players that received a season's worth of service time in 2019 would do so again. That's a big deal, as it will keep those players on track to hit free agency as expected.

On the flip side, players that didn't qualify for a season of service time will miss out on it again in 2020. That's going to be particularly painful for players who got a cup of coffee in the majors last season, but expected to spend all of 2020 with the big club.

In both situations, the Giants appear to be set up much better than most other MLB teams. Jeff Samardzija is the only thing close to a big name that would hit free agency after a canceled 2020 season. And some of San Francisco's younger players would be delayed from hitting free agency for another year.

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Meanwhile, one could argue that no team would be more adversely affected by a canceled 2020 season than the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

Forget the fact that they're considered heavy favorites to come out of the NL. The Dodgers made the blockbuster move of the offseason, acquiring outfielder Mookie Betts, pitcher David Price and $44 million in cash from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for prospects Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong. Many pundits argued that trade was heavily tilted in Los Angeles' favor, but if the 2020 season is canceled, that would revert like a seesaw.

Betts is entering the final year of his contract. If the season is canceled, he goes directly to free agency without ever playing a game in a Dodgers uniform. Additionally, Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reported Tuesday that Los Angeles would miss out on at least $16 million of the original $48 million included in the trade, since the Red Sox would no longer be required to pay the canceled season's portion.

Making matters worse for the Dodgers, they would still lose the players they gave up in the trade, as Verdugo, Downs and Wong would remain with Boston. On top of that, they would lose a crucial year of control on reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger, among others. Yes, they'd essentially gain an extra year of control on some of their top prospects, but in total, you can be sure that's not a tradeoff Los Angeles would find palatable.

If the 2020 season is canceled, the Dodgers can still make Betts a qualifying offer heading into free agency. But, he'll be able to negotiate with every team in the league, and even if his salary demands are somewhat diminished by the lack of revenue resulting from a canceled season, that wouldn't necessarily play into Los Angeles' hands.

In fact, given some of the revenue-generating projects the Giants currently have in the works, San Francisco could potentially be an even bigger player in the 2020 free-agent market than originally expected.

Imagine the Giants opening the long-awaited 2021 season against the Dodgers at Oracle Park. Only instead of Betts playing against them, he's playing for them -- against the rival who he indirectly weakened.

[RELATED: California 'unlikely' to allow any fans at games this summer]

We all have our fingers crossed that some form of a 2020 season takes place. But depending on how you look at it, it might not be the worst thing for the Giants.

Certainly not as bad as it would be for the Dodgers.

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

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AP

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 still are 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 also had 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 now is 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.

[RELATED: Olson Q&A: A's star talks exit velocity, favorite actor, more]

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.

[RELATED: Why Dodgers' trade for Betts doesn't hurt Giants that much]

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.