The second (or perhaps third) prong of the Mookie Betts blockbuster involved a cross-town swap between the Dodgers and Angels. But when the first iteration of the Betts agreement became bogged down in health concerns and re-negotiations, the intra-LA deal fell apart.
Accordingly, as things stand, the Dodgers still employ outfielder Joc Pederson and swingman Ross Stripling — two rather talented players — along with prospect Andy Pages. And intriguing young infielder Luis Rengifo remains with the Halos, along with whatever other players would’ve been included.
In theory, there’s nothing stopping the teams from resurrecting this agreement. It arguably would suit the Dodgers even better now, as the final version of the Betts swap cost the team an upper-level infielder and brought in a high-ceiling swingman with some MLB experience to go with veteran starter David Price. Adding Rengifo while parting with Stripling would restore much of the prior balance in the Dodgers’ roster situation. While Pederson is hardly extraneous now that Betts is on hand, his role obviously won’t be as robust.
Given the nature of the termination of talks, though, a revival doesn’t seem likely. Per Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic (subscription link), Angels owner Arte Moreno personally halted the prospective agreement as uncertainty lingered. His specific intentions aren’t known entirely, though as Ardaya writes, he has certainly operated with vigor and urgency of late after a string of disappointing seasons.
It’s interesting to wonder what could come next. For the Angels, there’s obviously a desire to add a rotation piece and perhaps pick up some more offense. And the club is willing to part with Rengifo in the right circumstances. It stands to reason that the Halos will continue working the phone lines even as Spring Training opens. Some rather notable candidates remain available, at least in theory, though at this point teams have likely already made their prices known.
And what of the Dodgers, who had notified Pederson that he was being sent out to Anaheim? These two veterans are still quite useful but will now enter uncertain situations with the knowledge they had been deemed expendable. No doubt the club would rather shed some salary and cash them both in for a younger, more flexible asset — as had been the plan when this deal came together. It’s possible the team will have shifting interest in talks involving these players. The ultimate Betts deal involved different pieces than had been expected. No doubt the Dodgers will be interested in any scenario that conveys long-term value and roster flexibility.
Whether there’s more action to come over the coming weeks is anyone’s guess. But the potential energy for movement is undeniable.