Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts has been one of multiple superstars involved in trade speculation this offseason, joining the likes of Nolan Arenado, Francisco Lindor and Kris Bryant. The Betts rumors got especially interesting Thursday when a report indicated the Red Sox and Padres have discussed a swap centering on the 27-year-old. It doesn’t seem there has been a great deal of traction in those talks, but it’s still interesting that Boston seemingly hasn’t closed the door on parting with its franchise player just weeks from spring training.
A couple years ago, the idea of the Red Sox trading Betts would have come off as preposterous. He was a 10-WAR, AL MVP-winning player in 2018 as the Red Sox steamrolled the competition en route to 108 regular-season wins and a World Series title. Neither Betts nor the Red Sox were close to as good last season, but he was still unquestionably one of the majors’ top performers, slashing .295/.391/.524 with 29 home runs and 6.6 fWAR.
If the Red Sox had their druthers, Betts would probably be the guy they’d build around. But Betts has publicly expressed a desire to test the free-agent market a year from now. Betts’ uncertain future beyond this season, in which he’ll earn an arbitration-record $27MM salary, as well as the team’s preference to duck the luxury tax have helped open the door for a trade. And if the Red Sox want to upgrade their farm system in the process (which seems to be the case), there may not be a better place to send Betts than prospect-rich San Diego.
The Padres likely have the prospect capital to make a deal happen, but it will be difficult for them or anyone else to get Betts out of Boston. New chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said just last week that he expects Betts to open 2020 as a member of the Red Sox. In the wake of the latest Betts trade rumors, though, do you believe he’ll still be on the BoSox roster when the new season starts?
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