Red Sox

MLB Rumors: Why Dodgers are more likely trade partners for Red Sox now

MLB Rumors: Why Dodgers are more likely trade partners for Red Sox now

Sometimes the best way to attack the market is to let it come to you.

The Red Sox didn't seem in any great rush to complete a major deal at last week's winter meetings in San Diego, in part because they recognized they weren't yet dealing from a position of strength.

Trying to move left-hander David Price when the market is flooded with pitchers isn't a recipe for maximizing your return. The same goes for the less palatable idea of trading Mookie Betts when a stud like World Series hero Anthony Rendon is still out there requiring nothing more than (a lot of) money to sign.

Fast forward a week, however, and the top end of the market suddenly features significantly more clarity. Gerrit Cole is gone. Rendon is gone. Stephen Strasburg is gone. Madison Bumgarner is gone. Zack Wheeler is long gone.

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As high-end options evaporate, the teams on the outside looking in should find themselves more agreeable to talking trade with the Red Sox. And the last 48 hours, in particular, have made one potential partner even more likely to place a call to Boston — the Dodgers.

L.A. began the offseason intent on swimming in the deepest end of the free agent pool. The Dodgers made a run at Cole, but watched him sign a $324 million deal with the Yankees. They targeted Rendon, only to have him join the crosstown Angels, in part because he had no interest in "the Hollywood lifestyle." They wanted Bumgarner, but instead will continue facing him in the division after he spurned them for the Diamondbacks.

When the meetings began, Dodgers boss Andrew Friedman said the team was focused on roughly 12 elite players available via either free agency or trade. While the Dodgers have been one of the league's most consistent franchises over the last five years, they've also become perennial bridesmaids, from losing two straight World Series to getting Howie Kendricked out of the NLDS this October.

They have the need and the resources to pursue an impact piece, and this is where the Red Sox enter the picture.

While Friedman didn't specify which 12 players were on his list, it's safe to say Cole, Rendon, Strasburg, and Bumgarner were four of them. Cleveland's surprising trade of two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the Rangers potentially takes two Indians off the market, since the roughly $18 million in savings can be applied to franchise shortstop Francisco Lindor, another rumored target of L.A.

The next free agent to go could be former AL MVP Josh Donaldson, whom the Dodgers have reportedly engaged on, but who is expected to land with the Nationals or Braves.

So who's left? The Dodgers could re-sign defending NL ERA champ Hyun-Jin Ryu, though they seem inclined to let the 32-year-old walk away rather than guarantee him the four or five years he'll likely receive elsewhere. They could swing a deal for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, though Chicago's asking price is understandably expected to be through the roof.

Or they could call the Red Sox.

Multiple executives at the winter meetings connected the Dodgers to both Price and Betts last week. The former was considered untradeable when the offseason began, but that notion now appears inaccurate.

The Dodgers saw firsthand what Price can do in big moments when he dominated them twice in the 2018 World Series, a performance that should've won him the MVP instead of Steve Pearce. Even more importantly, Price has a longstanding relationship with Friedman, who picked him No. 1 overall in the 2007 MLB Draft and then promoted him to the big leagues a year later, just in time to record key outs in the ALCS against the Red Sox en route to Tampa's only World Series appearance.

Friedman knew Price when he was considered a tremendous teammate, and before he committed a series of high-profile missteps in Boston that needn't be rehashed here. It's fair to say his view of the pitcher is more favorable than that of Boston fans, which makes Price a classic change-of-scenery candidate, presuming his surgically repaired wrist and iffy elbow can pass a physical at age 34.

The Red Sox will almost certainly subsidize a huge chunk of the three years and $96 remaining on Price's contract. As the Dodgers get shut out of the rest of the starting pitching market, a Friedman reunion becomes more intriguing.

Then again, if the medicals scare them off, or if they find a pitcher in free agency, there's still Betts. The former AL MVP only fits so many payrolls next season, when he'll make close to $30 million. The Dodgers are one of them, however. And as we laid out earlier this offseason, they have the talent in their farm system to acquire him if they're willing to gamble that he'll re-sign in L.A. next fall.

There's still time for L.A. to land someone, and it's hard to imagine them being shut out, but then again, we're already halfway there. The names on their list are vanishing like so many beamed-up Trekkies, which puts the Red Sox in a position of power.

Chaim Bloom and Co. appear content to play the long game. Perhaps it pays off when the phone rings and it's Friedman, his old boss, wondering if he has a minute to talk about some big names.

Top 20 free agents of the MLB offseason: Who's left?

Report: MLB doesn't want notes from Red Sox investigation used in court

Report: MLB doesn't want notes from Red Sox investigation used in court

As we await Major League Baseball's report on the Red Sox alleged sign-stealing from their 2018 championship season, MLB revealed in court documents that it does not want the notes from its interviews with Red Sox and Houston Astros personnel used in a current trial involving those allegations.

MLB investigator Bryan Seeley argued in a court filing this week that future investigations could be jeopardized if the league reveals details of those interviews, Evan Drellich of The Athletic reports. MLB is being sued by daily fantasy game contestants who argue that the Red Sox' and Astros' schemes corrupted the games.

A decision on the case is expected by April 15. MLB has already disciplined the Astros and it led to the firing of their manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow. The Red Sox parted ways with manager Alex Cora for what ownership said was his role in the Astros transgressions.  

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred gave Astros players who cooperated with MLB investigators immunity from his discipline. It's uncertain if the same holds true for Red Sox players. Manfred said last week a report on the Red Sox allegations - delayed by the coronavirus outbreak - would be released before the now-delayed baseball season begins.

Red Sox' Jhonny Pereda among players worried about salary during pandemic

Red Sox' Jhonny Pereda among players worried about salary during pandemic

The Boston Red Sox traded for Chicago Cubs catcher Jhonny Pereda last week in a surprising move for a minor league catcher who was awaiting clarity on his salary amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Pereda, a 23-year-old from Venezuela, relies on his minor league salary to help take care of his family back home and, like many, he's worried about getting paid.

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"I was just hoping and looking forward to the beginning of the season and to start making money," Pereda told ESPN's Joon Lee, through a translator. "I have to give support to my family. When I found out that the season was over, my first thought was, 'What am I going to do?'"

Minor league players don't get paid nearly as much as players in the majors, and Pereda noted that many Latin American athletes come to the United States to be able to provide for their families. 

"Coming from a third-world country where everything is very hard and tough, with the entire situation, I just wish that MLB and other people can help the minor leaguers [more] than they are doing right now because we need that money to live and provide for our families," Pereda said. "I think I can speak for all the Latin-American players, coming from there to the States, when we arrive to this country, it is because we are going to work and we are trying to make money to provide for our families.

"Of course, being in the big leagues, you have all of the attention of the fans and people sometimes don't realize how hard the struggle we have to go through. Only the players know how hard it is to get there because being in the business, you have to go to the minors first."

While Pereda and the minor leaguers are worried about what the future holds, MLB announced Tuesday they would be assisting minor league players throughout the pandemic. Each player will receive $400 per week with medical benefits, according to Ken Rosenthal.

While $400 per week isn't much to buy groceries, pay bills and help out their families, it's a start. In fact, some lower minor league players don't make that much money while veterans in the minors will see a pay reduction. 

For all pro athletes and their fans, and more importantly, everyone's overall health, we can only hope the crisis subsides and sports return as soon as possible.