As baseball's GM meetings roll on in Scottsdale, Arizona, one of the biggest headlines continues to be Mookie Betts' uncertain future.
With the former MVP entering the last season of his contract — and the Red Sox looking to shed payroll — one of the biggest decisions facing Boston's chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom is whether to keep Betts around in 2020 or deal him away for as much as he can find on the open market.
But what type of package could Boston receive in exchange for Betts?
In an article for The Athletic, former MLB Executive of the Year Jim Bowden, now an analyst for MLB Network, looked at three possible trade partners and what they could offer in a Betts trade. Bowden considered what the Diamondbacks received in exchange for Paul Goldschmidt last offseason, knowing that Betts should fetch more in a trade, and for the purposes of this exercise, he stayed away from players who would be on 25-man rosters right now.
Here's what he came up with for potential destinations and returns (all prospect rankings courtesy MLB Pipeline):
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Catcher Keibert Ruiz: #3 prospect in LAD organization; 20 years old, .261 BA, 6 HR, 34 RBI in AA & AAA in 2019
Middle infielder Jeter Downs: #5 prospect in LAD organization; 21 years old, .276 BA, 24 HR, 86 RBI in A & AAA in 2019
RHP Josiah Gray: #4 prospect in LAD organization; 21 years old, 11-2 record, 2.28 ERA, 147 K in 130 IP in A & AA in 2019
Bowden posits that the Dodgers would likely put pitchers Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin as well as middle infielder Gavin Lux in the off-limits category for a rental player like Betts.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Outfielder Randy Arozarena: #10 prospect in STL organization; 24 years old, .344 BA, 15 HR, 53 RBI in AA & AAA in 2019 (.300 BA in 19 MLB games in 2019)
Third baseman Elehuris Montero: #4 prospect in STL organization; 21 years old, .194 BA, 7 HR, 18 RBI in rookie league & AA in 2019
Catcher Andrew Knizner: #3 prospect in STL organization; 24 years old, .276 BA, 12 HR, 34 RBI in AAA in 2019 (.226 BA in 18 MLB games in 2019)
Like the Dodgers, Bowden has several top young Cardinals players off the board, like pitchers Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson as well as prospects Dylan Carson and Nolan Gorman
Outfielder Drew Waters: #2 prospect in ATL organization; 20 years old, .309 BA, 7 HR, 52 RBI in AA & AAA in 2019
LHP Kyle Muller: #7 prospect in ATL organization; 22 years old, 7-6, 3.14 ERA, 120 K in 111.2 IP in AA in 2019
Catcher William Contreras: #8 prospect in ATL organization; 21 years old, .255 BA, 6 HR, 39 RBI in A & AA in 2019
For the purposes of this exercise, Bowden suggested the Braves wouldn't part with these players: outfielder Cristian Pache, pitchers Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright, and catcher Shea Langeliers.
Considering the potential returns from these clubs, Bowden suggests the Red Sox would be better off holding onto Betts and making a run with him on the roster in 2020, especially since draft-pick compensation if he left after next season wouldn't really be able to contribute at the major league level until 2024 — or later.
While Chaim Bloom and the Sox front office evaluate all options, it'll be a wait-and-see situation for Red Sox fans.
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