Red Sox

Sam Kennedy explains why Red Sox are visiting White House so early

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USA TODAY Sports

Sam Kennedy explains why Red Sox are visiting White House so early

The second full week in February will be a busy one for the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox will celebrate their 2018 World Series championship by visiting the White House on Feb. 15, the team announced Tuesday. That's just three days after pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers, Fla., for spring training and just two days after Boston's first official workout.

So, why are the Red Sox heading to Washington, D.C. so early? Team president Sam Kennedy broke down the logistics Wednesday in an interview on WEEI's "Dale & Keefe" radio show.

"This was the date that was preferred by (manager) Alex Cora, (president of baseball operations) Dave Dombrowski and the coaching staff,” Kennedy said. “We wanted to set it up earlier rather than later. Some years in the past, we went during April or May when we’ve played down in Baltimore. Those always seemed a little bit stale. There was quite some time between the championship and the visit. So, we wanted to do it during the winter.

"We looked at the possibility of doing it after Winter Weekend, which is this weekend (Jan. 18-20), but this is the date everyone will be in Fort Myers. We’re going to do a charter from Fort Myers up to Washington D.C. and back in the same day. It’s actually most convenient to players and their spouses."

Major league teams can choose when they visit the Oval Office after the World Series; the Houston Astros went in March last year, while the Chicago Cubs visited in January 2017 and the Kansas City Royals waited until July 2016.

Boston previously has done the customary visit during the regular season but apparently would like to get it out of the way early this year.

The visit isn't mandatory, and several unidentified players have said they won't attend, according to The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham. But Kennedy insisted the Red Sox will leave politics out of the equation when they meet with President Donald Trump.

"Just like in the past, I’m sure there will be players who chose not to go, who do go," Kennedy said. "We’ve been pretty consistent and clear about this. This is an honor and a privilege to be invited to the White House. We’ve tried to not make it a political statement."

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Pros (prospects!) and cons (Wil Myers?) of potential Mookie Betts trade to Padres

Pros (prospects!) and cons (Wil Myers?) of potential Mookie Betts trade to Padres

With multiple reports revealing that the Padres and Red Sox have discussed a Mookie Betts trade, here are some thoughts on what it all means ...

MONEY MATTERS

The money doesn't really work for me. In swapping Betts for outfielder/first baseman Wil Myers, the Red Sox would save $13 million in 2020, which gets them roughly two-thirds of the way towards their goal of dropping below the $208 million luxury tax threshold. Maybe San Diego kicks in some cash to increase that number.

Boston would then be assuming the final three years and $68.5 million remaining on Myers' contract (including a $1 million buyout in 2023), though for luxury tax purposes, he'd only count for just under $14 million annually.

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If the Red Sox are intent on slashing $21 million in payroll, jettisoning Betts and still coming up well short of that goal feels suboptimal.

Put another way: if the Red Sox carry Betts into the season and then trade him at the deadline, they'd save about $9 million. Is that $4 million difference worth four months of Betts to see if the Red Sox can contend?

From this view, that's a yes.

L.A. STORY

I'd still rather move David Price and the $32 million he's owed in 2020 to find the savings the Red Sox need, and that's why the Dodgers remain their most logical trade partners.

L.A. has the need for the five-tool outfielder after two World Series losses and one shocking NLDS ouster, it has the financial and prospect resources to acquire both Betts and Price, and it could actually use another starter, to boot.

Add Andrew Friedman's familiarity with Price from their Tampa days, and these Padres discussions feel more like a way to goose the Dodgers to the table rather than watch a star player join a division rival.

WHERE THERE'S A WIL ...

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom knows Myers well from Tampa, where the slugger was one of the centerpieces of the 2012 trade that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City.

Myers won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 2013 in what was a remarkably weak class — former Red Sox infielder Jose Iglesias finished second — and made an All-Star team in 2016 with the Padres, but has trended noticeably downward since. Injuries limited him to 83 games in 2018, and last year he hit only .239 with 18 homers while striking out 168 times.

If the Red Sox are going to take Myers, they absolutely need the Padres to pick up some of his salary, because there's a real possibility he has reached the JAG portion of his career.

BUYER BEWARE

Granted, this little bit of egregiousness happened on Dave Dombrowski's watch, but how quickly the Red Sox forget the pitfalls of dealing with A.J. Preller.

The Padres GM was suspended by MLB for withholding medical information that would've revealed more extensive damage to the elbow of left-hander Drew Pomeranz before the Red Sox acquired him in 2016.

The Red Sox surrendered their top pitching prospect, right-hander Anderson Espinoza, and by the time San Diego's malfeasance was revealed, the Red Sox decided it was too late to undo the deal.

Espinoza has since needed a pair of Tommy John surgeries, leaving his career very much in doubt, but the Red Sox shouldn't forget how badly Preller burned them.

FARM FRESH

If there's one plus to a potential San Diego deal, it's that the Red Sox would be choosing players from one of baseball's most loaded farm systems, as we laid out here.

A couple of names to watch: imposing Cuban right-hander Michel Baez, a 6-foot-8 behemoth who is a potential future closer, and catcher Luis Campusano, who is considered one of the best young backstops in the minors.

MLB Rumors: What Padres could give Red Sox in Mookie Betts trade

MLB Rumors: What Padres could give Red Sox in Mookie Betts trade

The Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres reportedly have opened discussions on a Mookie Betts trade.

But what would that trade entail?

The Boston Globe's Alex Speier offered some insight Friday morning, reporting that current talks involve San Diego sending outfielder Wil Myers "as well as both prospects and young controllable major league pieces" to the Red Sox.

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Speier also added this, via a source:

San Diego expressed willingness to clear the bar set by the trade of Paul Goldschmidt from the Diamondbacks to the Cardinals last winter, at a time when Goldschmidt had one remaining year of team control before he reached free agency.

Arizona's haul in that Dec. 2018 trade included starting pitcher Luke Weaver, major-league catcher Carson Kelly, infield prospect Andy Young and St. Louis' Round B competitive balance pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.

The Padres, with the second-youngest roster in baseball as of 2019 and one of the game's strongest farm systems, have both controllable young MLB players and prospects to entice the Red Sox in a Betts deal.

Among the former group, Speier lists 23-year-old outfielder Trent Grisham or 26-year-old shortstop/pitcher Jake Cronenworth as potential targets for Boston, as well as three young pitchers: right-handed starter Cal Quantrill, left-handed starter Joey Lucchesi and righty reliever Michel Baez.

Lucchesi is the most accomplished player of that bunch with 56 starts (18-19 record; 4.14 ERA) over two big-league seasons, but all are 26 years old or younger and are on team-friendly deals.

As for prospects, San Diego likely won't deal its top four prospects -- pitcher Mackenzie Gore, pitcher Luis Patino, outfielder Taylor Trammell and shortstop C.J. Abrams -- but the Padres have two more prospects on Baseball America's Top 100 list whom Boston may covet in catcher Luis Campusano and pitcher Adrian Morejon.

To land Betts, it appears San Diego would need to send Myers (who's owed $61 million on the final three years of his contract), at least one major league-level player and at least one prospect to the Red Sox, potentially adding a draft pick as a sweetener.

That's a lot of moving parts, and if Chaim Bloom and Padres general manager A.J. Preller can't make them fit, then this deal could fall through quickly.