The Boston Red Sox are getting worse in the short term by unloading Mookie Betts and David Price on the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But are they better positioned for future success?
The answer to that question rides on the three players Boston reportedly will acquire in return: outfielder Alex Verdugo, infield prospect Jeter Downs and catching prospect Connor Wong.
The 23-year-old Verdugo already is a major-league level player: He hit .294 with an .817 OPS over 106 games for the Dodgers last season and projects as the Red Sox' starting right fielder in place of Betts.
Downs and Wong -- who take the place of Minnesota Twins pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol after Boston balked at his medical records -- should improve a barren Red Sox farm system that ranked dead last in baseball as of last August.
How much, you ask? MLB.com ranks Downs as its No. 44 overall prospect for 2020 -- which makes him Boston's top prospect and gives the Sox two prospects in MLB.com's Top 100 instead of one.
Here's an updated list of Boston's top 10 prospects, with Nos. 3 through 10 based on SoxProspects.com's rankings as of February 10, 2020:
1. Jeter Downs, 2B/SS (No. 44 overall)
2. Triston Casas, 1B/3B (No. 77 overall)
3. Bryan Mata, RHP
4. Jay Groome, LHP
5. Gilberto Jimenez, OF
6. Bobby Dalbec, 3B
7. Jarren Duran, OF
8. Tanner Houck, RHP
9. Noah Song, RHP
10. Thaddeus Ward, RHP
TBD. Connor Wong, C
Wong, 23, ranked 15th on Baseball America's list of top 30 Dodgers prospects, so he should slot just outside the top 10 in Boston's new-look farm system. He'll likely begin the 2020 season with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, while Downs should start in Portland as well but possibly could crack Boston's major-league roster by the end of the season.
Downs: "Downs showed flashes of everything early in his career, but his in-game power took a step forward in 2019, when he hit 24 homers across high-A and Double-A. He's a fringy runner and defender at shortstop who probably fits best long-term at second base or third base, but he now projects to have above-average hit and power tools, so his bat will profile anywhere on an everyday basis. He could be ready for the big leagues as early as the second half of 2020."
Wong: "Wong doesn't have big raw power but has learned to lift the ball well enough to do damage, with below-average contact skills and mostly average tools across the board. He profiles as a utility-type role player who could be ready as early as 2021."
The Red Sox still don't have a top-100 pitching prospect in their farm system, which is cause for concern for a big-league club already thin on starting pitching.
But Downs' addition by itself improves Boston's crop of prospects immediately, and if all goes well, the Red Sox could have a compelling "infield of the future" in Triston Casas (first base), Downs (second base), Xander Bogaerts (shortstop) and Rafael Devers (third base).