Los Angeles Dodgers

MLB rumors: Diamondbacks 'have shown interest' in Mookie Betts trade

MLB rumors: Diamondbacks 'have shown interest' in Mookie Betts trade

The Boston Red Sox have a decision to make with Mookie Betts, and if they decide to trade him, several National League teams reportedly are interested.

UPDATE (Monday, Jan. 27 at 3:05 p.m. ET): The Diamondbacks no longer make sense as a potential Mookie Betts trade destination after they reportedly acquired Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte on Monday. 

--End of Update--

Betts is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after the upcoming 2020 season, and he's poised to land a potentially record-breaking deal at that time.

If the Red Sox don't want to pay that kind of money to retain Betts, or if he wants to test free agency and not sign an extension with Boston beforehand, then it makes sense for the franchise to explore possible trade packages. Betts leaving in free agency and the Red Sox getting nothing of value in return would be a huge setback to the roster.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres reportedly are interested in a Betts trade, and over the weekend, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported a third National League West team that could be in the mix.

The Red Sox need to maximize their leverage with two and possibly three NL West teams in the bidding — the Diamondbacks, whose GM, Mike Hazen, and manager, Torey Lovullo, previously were with the Red Sox, also have shown interest in Betts, sources say. But finances likely are a greater issue for the Diamondbacks, and their farm system ranks only 16th according to Baseball America, well behind the Padres at No. 2 and the Dodgers at No. 5.

The Padres are the team most in need of Betts after finishing 36 games behind the Dodgers at the bottom of the NL West standings in 2019. San Diego ranked 13th of 15 NL teams in runs scored last season. It also ranked 10th in home runs, 15th in batting average and 13th in on-base percentage.

Betts, in addition to being one of the premier defensive outfielders in baseball, also is a fantastic hitter. He's won three Silver Slugger awards over the last four years, as well as the 2018 AL MVP award. Betts batted .295 with 29 homers, 80 RBI and a .390 on-base percentage in 150 games last season.

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was asked at a press conference earlier this month about Betts being on the Opening Day roster, and he said “That’s really been my expectation all along.” Betts still might be in the Red Sox lineup when they open the 2020 season March 26 against the Toronto Blue Jays, but these reports indicate the team is at least willing to examine different trade packages involving its best player before the season begins.

Report: This Padres catching prospect drawing interest from Sox

MLB Rumors: Red Sox' Mookie Betts trade talks 'evolving' with Dodgers, Padres

MLB Rumors: Red Sox' Mookie Betts trade talks 'evolving' with Dodgers, Padres

It appears the Boston Red Sox are moving closer to parting ways with the face of their franchise.

On Thursday, it was reported the Red Sox and San Diego Padres were discussing a potential blockbuster trade involving Mookie Betts. Now, Alex Speier of The Boston Globe reports those trade talks have "evolved" with both the Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have been rumored to be a suitor for Betts throughout the offseason.

Speier writes:

According to multiple major league sources, the Red Sox continue to discuss the possibility of a Mookie Betts trade with multiple suitors. The team is weighing potential combinations of big leaguers and prospects offered by the Padres as well as the Dodgers, and remains engaged with both teams about the possibility of a deal involving their superstar right fielder.

The fact that discussions are ongoing with multiple teams is not a guarantee that Betts will be dealt. It’s possible that the Red Sox will enter the 2020 regular season with their superstar — with the possibility of exploring his trade value at the deadline if the team is not clearly in contention. But the team’s willingness to consider dealing the four-time All-Star and 2018 A.L. MVP appears serious.

That's certainly a change of tune from Thursday's report, which referred to a potential Betts deal as "unlikely."

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Both San Diego and L.A. make sense as possible trade partners for the Red Sox. The Padres have the top prospects to make a deal worthwhile, and the Dodgers have the financial flexibility to take on the $96 million remaining on David Price's contract to help Boston get under the $208 million luxury tax threshold.

Betts, 27, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season.

Tomase: Pros & cons of trading Betts to Padres

Dodgers president on Red Sox, Astros sign-stealing: 'I'd like to have answers'

Dodgers president on Red Sox, Astros sign-stealing: 'I'd like to have answers'

Los Angeles Dodgers team president Stan Kasten, in his first public comments on the sign-stealing scandal that has rocked baseball, lamented that he still has many unanswered questions after Major League Baseball's punishment of the Houston Astros. 

Kasten noted that the investigation isn't over, with MLB continuing to look into the Red Sox' alleged sign-stealing using video - a system that Alex Cora reportedly brought to Boston as manager after serving as Astros bench coach.

"This investigation isn't over," Kasten said, via Evan Drellich of The Athletic, who along with colleague Ken Rosenthal broke the stories detailing the Astros' and Red Sox' schemes.  "I’d like to have answers to many questions about what happened, by whom and when."

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Kasten saw his Dodgers lose World Series in 2017 to Houston and 2018 to Boston, only to have those two championships called into question after MLB's report on the Astros' tactics led to the firing of manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow. Cora also parted ways with the Red Sox amid the controversy and Carlos Beltran, a player on the '17 Astros involved in the scheme, was fired just months after being named manager of the New York Mets.  

Houston was also fined $5 million and docked draft picks. The Red Sox could face similar penalties.

Here are Kasten's full comments, via Drellich:

Earlier this week, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred shot down suggestions that the World Series titles could be stripped from the Astros and Red Sox, a request made by, among others, the L.A. City Council. 

Speaking specifically about losing to the Astros in the 2017 Series, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, at the team's Fan Fest on Saturday, questioned the legitimacy of Houston's title.  

"We know how hard it is to win a World Series," Turner said. "We know that it's something you really have to earn, and with the commissioner's report and the evidence and what they had, it's hard to feel like they earned it and they earned the right to be called champions."