- CLUTCH Summary: Major news sweeping MLB is that the Boston Red Sox are willing to listen to trade offers for Mookie Betts in the offseason.
- The talented Betts is coming off a 2018 voyage that saw him win the American League MVP award.
- In theory, the Boston Red Sox can receive a major haul if they do actually trade him.
For a team that is recently coming off of winning the World Series, the Boston Red Sox have mightily struggled in 2019. Currently sitting in third place in the American League East, their season has produced a tone of disappointment and surprise throughout the league.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com, multiple rival executives believe that in order to escape having to pay Betts an exorbitant amount of money when his contract comes up after the 2020 season, the team will begin to accept trade offers this offseason to try and coup some value for him.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 9, 2019
Betts is coming off of a 2018 season that saw him win the MVP award for the American League, and while 2019 has been disappointing for the team, Betts continues to shine in the stat columns. His value, still very high and still seen as a very good player, may be seen as too high to be able to acquire by outside teams, although they would be smart to at least inquire to try and gauge what the Red Sox are looking at getting for him.
Boston never sells or rebuilds – they just get better every year, and even when they have down seasons, they still make strides. Such is life for one of the two AL East breadwinners; however, by even welcoming in trade offers for Betts, it signals a bit of a change in what management perceives and believes would be the best move(s) for the franchise moving forward.
Betts turned down an eight-year, $200 million deal after the 2017 season, according to a report from insider Joel Sherman, so he is, not to be that guy, but he is betting on himself to be able to improve his value even more to try and scratch the range of contracts that the likes of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper just received this offseason.
While Betts is certainly on a trajectory to reach both of those players in terms of production, he may never be THE player for a team, and should not be paid as such. Currently on the Red Sox, his role of being the best player supported by a really solid supporting cast seems to fit into his skills very nicely, and he would be best suited to go to a team that is built similarly, although there are not many teams built like the Red Sox.
In the offseason, the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, and Houston Astros, among others, would be smart to check in and see what the current value of acquiring Betts is. While the Braves and Astros have some of the best farm systems in the league, the Brewers have a window that they need to take advantage of, and the Blue Jays have a ton of young talent just reaching the major-league level that could use a player like Betts to help shore up their weak spots.
Trading Mookie Betts in the division is hard to picture, so the Blue Jays are definitely on the outside looking in. The Brewers have a farm system that is not super exciting or high on top-tiered prospects, so any deal would be hard to see coming together.
For the Astros, building a deal around outfielder Kyle Tucker or pitcher Forrest Whitley would most likely dominate the talks, but if there is no guarantee of an extension, then offering up some of the best prospects in all of baseball becomes a quick impasse.
The Braves, however, look to be the most likely destination, as their young farm system is stocked full of MLB-ready talent that has not broken through yet due to being blocked at the big-league level. Housing a bunch of high-upside position players and arms in their system, any deal could focus on including outfielders Cristian Pache (#11 overall) and Drew Waters (#27), as well as RHPs Ian Anderson (#34) and Kyle Wright (#38).
A sleeper team that could throw their hat into the ring is the San Diego Padres, who have invested a large sum of money into Machado and Eric Hosmer, have shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. tearing up the big leagues and a stacked farm system that could provide enough sweeteners to the BoSox to convince them to move on from Betts a year before he heads into free agency.
With a willingness to listen to offers (reportedly), this upcoming offseason could become very interesting if the Red Sox get serious about shipping out Betts.