The Boston Red Sox have publicly claimed they’re not shopping Mookie Betts, but it sure sounds like they have been more than willing to listen.
The Red Sox have been in discussion with the San Diego Padres regarding a possible deal for the former MVP, according to multiple reports. The Athletic was the first to report the teams were in talks.
According to The Athletic, an agreement is unlikely, and the report indicated the industry consensus is Betts will be on Boston’s Opening Day roster.
As for the potential return, The Athletic reported “recent talks between the team have focused on sending a significant amount of prospect talent and outfielder Wil Myers to Boston, according to sources.” Myers’ contract — he’s owed $61 million over the next three seasons — has been a sticking point for the Red Sox, per The San Diego Union-Tribune. The Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee reported Thursday night that the Padres want the Red Sox to take on all of Myers’ contract, while the Red Sox currently aren’t willing to do so.
Myers, simply put, is coming off the worst season of his career. He had a negative WAR for the first time in his career, and that regression obviously is tougher to take given the contract. For the Red Sox — who have made their desire to trim payroll no secret — to take on Myers’ contract, they almost certainly would be doing so in order to prompt the Padres to give up even more in the way of prospects and young talent.
However, it should be noted that while Myers is owed more than $20 million per season over the next three years, the annual average value of his deal is only $13.8 million. Meanwhile, Betts and the Red Sox just settled on a $27 million salary for 2020, so that’s some considerable luxury tax space opened up if the deal were to go down.
The Boston Globe added a little more context regarding the potential return, noting Boston likely would receive Myers, the aforementioned prospects and young, controllable major league players. The Globe also reported that talks are still ongoing, but it’s still in the idea-exchanging phase.
“One source suggested that to acquire Betts, San Diego expressed willingness to clear the bar set by the trade of Paul Goldschmidt from the Diamondbacks to the Cardinals last winter, at a time when Goldschmidt had one remaining year of team control before he reached free agency,” the Globe’s Alex Speier wrote Thursday night.
The Diamondbacks traded Goldschmidt to the Cardinals last December for three prospects. Here’s a quick rundown of those three prospects:
Luke Weaver, pitcher: Weaver was a first-round pick in 2014 who was in the big leagues by 2016. He made 43 major league starts before the trade and pitched well in limited action with Arizona in 2019, going 4-3 with a 2.94 ERA in 12 starts. He was the Cardinals’ No. 2 prospect entering the 2016 season.
Carson Kelly, catcher: He was the Cardinals’ second-round pick in 2012 and had 63 games of big-league experience at the time of the trade. He appeared in 111 games for Arizona last season, hitting .245 with 18 home runs and 47 RBIs. Kelly was St. Louis’ second-ranked prospect entering 2017.
Andy Young, infielder: Young ranked 12th on Fangraphs’ list of top 40 Cardinals prospects shortly before the trade. He hasn’t yet reached the majors but he put up very good numbers in Triple-A last season, hitting 21 home runs and driving in 53 runs over just 68 games at Reno with a .984 OPS.
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