Red Sox

Why Red Sox' return in Mookie Betts trade with Dodgers isn't as bad as you think

Why Red Sox' return in Mookie Betts trade with Dodgers isn't as bad as you think

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.

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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.

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.

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.

Tomase: Red Sox still losers in revised Mookie Betts trade

WATCH: Alex Verdugo notches first home run with Red Sox

WATCH: Alex Verdugo notches first home run with Red Sox

Alex Verdugo tallied his first home run with the Boston Red Sox during Wednesday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Verdugo's homer was a two-run shot in the fourth inning off of Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough that gave Boston the lead.

Watch below:


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Verdugo was, of course, acquired in the blockbuster trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 24-year-old hit .294 with 12 homers in 106 games with L.A. last year.

With home run No. 1 out of the way, Red Sox fans will hope to see many more where that came from during Verdugo's tenure in Boston.

Incredible stat shows how historically awful Red Sox starting pitching has been

Incredible stat shows how historically awful Red Sox starting pitching has been

When the 2019 MLB season started, the defending World Series champion Red Sox boasted an impressive rotation.

Perennial Cy Young contender Chris Sale. Former Cy Young winners David Price and Rick Porcello. World Series hero Nathan Eovaldi. Eduardo Rodriguez, who would go on to win 19 games.

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But the 2020 Sox rotation is a far cry from that collection of talent. 

Instead, with Sale sidelined with Tommy John surgery, Price and Porcello on different teams, and Rodriguez out for the season with myocarditis, the Sox have been forced to rely on a flotsam and jetsam rotation that has been exposed as not MLB-worthy.

Through 11 games, the Red Sox have already used seven starting pitchers, and they've combined to allow a whopping 32 earned runs in 42.2 innings pitched, often putting the Sox in early deficits they've been unable to overcome. It all adds up to a 6.75 ERA, which isn't just bad; it's actually on pace to be the worst starting rotation in the last 120 years, according to Boston Sports Info.

Only Nathan Eovaldi with a 3.94 ERA in three starts and Austin Brice, who pitched one scoreless inning in his only start of the season as an opener, have ERAs below 5.00, while Josh Osich, Ryan Weber, Matt Hall and Zack Godley all have ERAs of 9-plus.

Pitcher ERA as starter
Austin Brice 0.00
Nathan Eovaldi 3.94
Martin Perez 5.06
Josh Osich 9.00
Matt Hall 10.13
Ryan Weber 11.57
Zack Godley 13.50

And with the supposedly strong Boston offense underachieving through 11 games, it's no wonder the team is off to a horrific 3-8 start, the 28th best record out of 30 MLB teams. If that starting pitching doesn't turn around — and turn around quickly — the Red Sox are in danger of digging a hole that will be too deep to climb out of in a shortened 60-game season.