The Los Angeles Dodgers have won seven consecutive National League West titles.
On Tuesday, they again flexed their muscles against a division rival.
The Dodgers reportedly agreed to acquire Mookie Betts and David Price from the Boston Red Sox in a three-team trade that also included the Minnesota Twins. The deal crushed the San Diego Padres’ dreams of landing Betts, a four-time All-Star and unquestionably one of the best players in Major League Baseball.
So, what happened? How did the Dodgers outbid the Padres?
Well, quite simply, Los Angeles had more talent and more financial flexibility to execute a blockbuster. The Dodgers were able to absorb all of the $27 million Betts is owed in 2020 and about half of the $96 million Price is owed over the next three years. The Padres, meanwhile, wanted to unload approximately three quarters of the $61 million Wil Myers is owed over the next three seasons, according to Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Here’s more from Acee regarding the Padres’ failed pursuit:
Sources most often mentioned the combination of Cal Quantrill, Manuel Margot, Luis Campusano and Gabriel Arias as the Padres’ offering. However, other young major leaguers and prospects were part of the discussions at various times.
The Red Sox never were willing to take on more than two-thirds of the money, according to sources, who also said the combinations of money and players involved in the deal kept changing until the end.
Acquiring Betts absolutely would’ve improved the Padres’ chances of overtaking the Dodgers in the NL West this season, but it’s fair to question whether San Diego instantly would’ve transformed into a World Series contender. After all, the Padres went just 70-92 last season despite an intriguing up-and-coming core and haven’t made the playoffs since 2006.
Of course, the Padres could’ve rolled the dice, as they own the prospect capital to swing a franchise-altering trade. Betts intends to test free agency next offseason, though, and San Diego ultimately balked at the idea of offering too much for a player who might just be a rental. It’s hard to imagine the Padres shelling out $400 million (or more) to keep Betts beyond the 2020 campaign.
“We were not going to trade on our future,” one team official said Tuesday, according to Acee. “We’re in for the (long haul), not one year.”
The Athletic’s Dennis Lin also shed light on the Betts sweepstakes from a Padres perspective, pointing to how Los Angeles’ ability to take on a large chunk of Price’s contract was something San Diego just couldn’t match.
Here’s more from Lin:
The Padres started negotiating with the Red Sox more than a month ago, according to sources. San Diego was willing to discuss such major-leaguers as Manuel Margot, Cal Quantrill and Josh Naylor. The two sides went back and forth on a number of prospects, including Luis Campusano and Gabriel Arias.
Yet the inclusion of Myers proved a complication, along with the amount of cash that would have been attached. So did the Dodgers, who offered the Red Sox the opportunity to make a cleaner deal.
The Red Sox reportedly netted outfielder Alex Verdugo from the Dodgers and right-handed pitcher Brusdar Graterol from the Twins when the dust settled. It’s a decent haul given all of the variables involved, but the Dodgers were well-equipped to make a significant splash, whereas the Padres — like everyone else in the NL West — remained a step behind.
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