The Dodgers have been linked to several superstar players in both free agency and potential trades this winter, though with so many of the big free agents already signed elsewhere, the trade market might be Los Angeles’ best avenue to land a major roster upgrade. To this end, the Dodgers have continued to explore the possibility of acquiring Mookie Betts from the Red Sox, according to MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.
The deal could potentially be expanded to involve multiple players heading from Boston to Chavez Ravine, as Morosi suggests that David Price might be a fit as the veteran arm the Dodgers are looking to add to their rotation. With the Red Sox looking to cut payroll and ideally get under the luxury tax threshold, rumors have swirled all winter about Price, Betts, and other high-priced Boston names being floated as trade chips. Betts is projected for a hefty $27.7MM salary in his final year of arbitration, though that’s certainly a reasonable price to pay (especially for a big-market team like the Dodgers) for one of the sport’s very best players.
As game-changing as the idea of a Betts trade may be, the Sox aren’t actively trying to deal him, since the club would naturally prefer to explore other cost-saving options before parting ways with the 2018 AL MVP. Moving Price and the $96MM owed to the southpaw through 2022 would be one of those preferred options. While the Sox have drummed up some trade interest in Price, however, it still seems unlikely that a suitor would take on most of that contract given Price’s age (34) and recent injury concerns.
Moving Betts along with Price would definitely make a trade suitors more willing to absorb perhaps even all of Price’s contract, though obviously the Red Sox aren’t willing to move Betts just for the sake of a salary dump. Indeed, Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom recently downplayed the idea of giving away any sort of younger talent along with Price, saying “so much of what we’re always going to be trying to accomplish, but certainly now, is to make sure we have as strong a farm system as possible.”
Morosi opines that the Red Sox would want one of the Dodgers’ top young pitchers (i.e. Dustin May or Tony Gonsolin) as part of a trade, though “Boston appears less insistent on” including infielder Gavin Lux as part of a trade package. It could be for this reason that L.A. is perhaps currently more focused on Betts than on Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, another All-Star who has been heavily rumored to be on the Dodgers’ list of targets. The Lindor talks appear to be in something of a stalemate — Cleveland has continued to demand Lux in any deal for Lindor, while the Dodgers think so highly of Lux’s potential that they “have refused to include him in any offer for Lindor alone.” The Dodgers are also known to be pursuing Cleveland righty Mike Clevinger, so it’s safe to assume that some multi-player offers have been floated in the Tribe’s direction.