A.J. Preller

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.

Friar: Pomeranz might be of real use for the Sox in the postseason

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Friar: Pomeranz might be of real use for the Sox in the postseason

BOSTON -- It’s like they traded for Drew Pomeranz all over again -- but got a completely different pitcher.

Ironic, given commissioner Rob Manfred was present Sunday and told reporters that the Red Sox could have rescinded the trade after news broke from foul play by San Diego.

MORE FROM MANFRED: Manfred, MLB offered Red Sox the opportunity to rescind Pomeranz deal

After his appearance from the bullpen Sunday night, it almost seems like it was worth it -- in the short term at least.

Not only was Pomeranz effective -- giving his team a second option for a lefty from the pen in October -- but his fastball was pumping, touching 96.

If you look at his average fastball velocity, according to Fangraphs, his hardest throwing season was 2015 when he averaged his fastball sat 91.9, as a reliever.

“I don’t know, maybe some extra rest…I don’t know,” Pomeranz said when asked where the huge velocity jump came from.

Starters tend to throw much harder when they move to the pen. Which makes sense, since there’s no need to pace themselves. But to see a 5-MPH jump, when fatigue’s setting -- to go with throwing 91-92 in the rotation or out of the bullpen -- it just doesn’t make sense, no matter how you spin it.

While Sunday’s outing was great, it comes with another follow up for Pomeranz, “Can you do that again?”

“We’ll see, I don’t know,” he said. “Feeling pretty good mechanically. Had some extra time to really focus on those mechanics.”

So it’s up in the air if Pomeranz can be a power arm from the pen down the stretch. But he doesn’t feel that’s crucial to his success. What’s more important is he’s familiar with the role.

“I haven’t come out of the bullpen in a game -- I guess I did in the All-Star game -- since last year,” Pomeranz said. “I feel pretty comfortable out there coming into any situation because I’ve done everything.

“It feels just like yesterday I was in the bullpen. You can’t really faze me out there since I’d done everything just last year . . . I know the mentality coming in there. It’s a different game coming out of the bullpen than it is starting.”

Clear conviction from a typically soft-spoken starter. Maybe there is an edgy side to Pomeranz, all he needed was to be back in a position he’s more familiar with.

McAdam: Padres got off easy from MLB in Pomeranz deal

McAdam: Padres got off easy from MLB in Pomeranz deal

BOSTON - It seems MLB went surprisingly easy on the Padres.

San Diego GM A.J. Preller was suspended for 30 days without pay by commissioner Rob Manfred for failing to disclose the necessary medical information on Drew Pomeranz, whom they traded to the Red Sox on July 14.

The Padres violated baseball protocol by not informing the Sox of the preventative measures taken with the lefty's surgically-repaired shoulder.

This is the second time that Preller has been disciplined by MLB. He was also suspended back in 2010 while with the Texas Rangers for a violation of international signing rules.

It would seem that Preller's job would be in jeopardy now, but that's not the Red Sox concern.

They're not interested in rescinding the deal. They like how Pomeranz has pitched for the most part - eight of his 11 starts have been pretty good -- and they control him for two more seasons after this.

But shouldn't they be given some sort of relief as the injured party? A Padres draft pick for their troubles, or a ruling that the Padres should assume all responsibility for his salary this year? Something, anything?

A baseball source indicated Thursday that the Red Sox were disappointed with the lack of action taken by MLB, though they declined to comment publicly.