The chatter on Red Sox star Mookie Betts continues even as the opening of camp draws near. Three NL West organizations are reportedly engaged with the Boston organization on the exceptional right fielder, adding to the intrigue.
Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune updates the situation from the Padres’ perspective, covering quite a few notable details on the discussions. The Friars are said to be trying to structure a deal around a pair of young MLB-level players: one outfielder (Manuel Margot or Josh Naylor) and one pitcher (Cal Quantrill or Joey Lucchesi).
Supposing that aspect of the prospective arrangement meets with the desires of the Boston front office, there’s still the matter of sorting out the money. As has been reported previously, the Friars wish to offload as much as possible of the Wil Myers contract, in no small part due to the fact that Betts is set to play for $27MM in 2020. But the sides are currently deadlocked on the dollars, with the Sox “offering to assume about half” of the $61MM still owed Myers and the Pads wishing “to eat only about a quarter.”
While a ~$15MM difference is no small matter, that’s not necessarily an unbridgeable gap. (At least, assuming the teams are seeing eye to eye on the other pieces.) But the Red Sox surely don’t want to sell low on a franchise stalwart. And the Padres are understandably wary of over-extending for a rental player.
Among the clubs pursuing Betts, the Padres are in the most speculative competitive position. They’re trying to move out of the NL West cellar and chase down the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. That won’t be an easy feat, even with Betts. While there’d always be a mid-season ripcord if things fall flat, and Betts is all but assured of receiving and declining a qualifying offer at season’s end, it’s questionable whether now is the time to push a bunch of chips in on a purely win-now move.