The Boston Red Sox didn't hit a home run in their reworked trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers that will send superstar outfielder Mookie Betts and starting pitcher David Price to California.
Perhaps the biggest issue with the trade is the Red Sox didn't acquire a starting pitcher of some kind in the deal, and that position arguably should have been Boston's top priority in negotiations with the Dodgers.
That said, the deal isn't as bad as you might think. The Red Sox did receive some quality players from the Dodgers, and getting rid of more than $40 million in salary owed to Price over the next three years should give the team a little more financial flexibility going forward.
What's the sense around baseball regarding the quality of the return for the Red Sox in the Betts trade? Here's what The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal tweeted Sunday night.
A number of baseball people saying #RedSox did well. Verdugo, Downs, project as regulars; Wong has good arm, power. Also moved half Price’s money. Deal at least comparable to what #DBacks got for Goldy, who cost less than Betts in walk year and had no other contracts attached.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 10, 2020
Jeter Downs has a bright future, Alex Verdugo shows promise at the plate, and Connor Wong gives the Red Sox additional depth at a position where they're lacking elite talent.
Jeter Downs looks like heir apparent to Pedroia, Red Sox did get more imo after balking at first trade. Downs is a great hitting prospect (first drafted by Cincy out of Miami). New trade also reportedly includes catcher Connor Wong along with Verdugo, who was in original deal too— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 9, 2020
Downs, in particular, is an exciting prospect for the Red Sox. He has the ability to hit for average and power, and his stats in the minor leagues last season were impressive. Downs hit .276 with 24 home runs, 86 RBI and 24 steals in 119 games between High-A and Double-A in 2019.
The Red Sox' fate in 2020 likely will come down to pitching, and there are real question marks in both the rotation and bullpen. The Betts trade was a great opportunity to alleviate some of the pitching concerns, but now chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom will have to look elsewhere to fortify those positions.