The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to a blockbuster deal that will send former MVP Mookie Betts and left-hander David Price to Los Angeles for a package that includes outfielder Alex Verdugo, sources tell ESPN.
The trade includes a third team, the Minnesota Twins, with the Dodgers sending starter Kenta Maeda to Minnesota, which in turn will ship hard-throwing pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol to Boston, sources said, confirming a report by The Athletic.
The deal is pending medical reviews.
With the bidding for Betts heating up between the Dodgers and the National League West rival San Diego Padres in recent days, Boston chose to deal with Los Angeles and improve the team that lost in the division series to the Washington Nationals, the eventual World Series champions.
The 27-year-old Betts is coming off a season in which he hit .295/.391/.524 and finished eighth in American League MVP voting. He won the 2018 MVP, hitting .346/.438/.640 during the Red Sox’s championship-winning season.
Throughout the winter, Boston entertained offers for Betts, whose free-agent haul following the 2020 season could exceed $400 million. Betts will make $27 million this year. And as Boston tries to dip beneath the $208 million luxury-tax threshold, clearing its books of Betts and Price will go a long way toward reaching that goal. Price has three years and $96 million remaining on his contract.
Still, dealing Betts was far from a certainty for Boston, particularly after watching him develop from a fifth-round pick in 2011 and become one of the best players in baseball. In fewer than 5½ seasons with the Red Sox, Betts piled up 42.0 wins above replacement, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
The Dodgers coveted him, even knowing he could leave via free agency after one season. The Dodgers’ depth allowed them to stomach the potential value given away and take comfort in the knowledge that they’ll add Betts to a lineup that already includes reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Max Muncy and top prospect Gavin Lux.
The Red Sox get Verdugo, 23, hit .294/.342/.475 with a 2.2 WAR in 377 plate appearances for the Dodgers last season. He took over in center field when A.J. Pollock was out.
Verdugo didn’t play after Aug. 4 because of a back injury he re-aggravated while on a rehab assignment in September.
He is excellent against left-handed pitching and is under team control through the 2024 season. He will make the MLB minimum of $563,500 in 2020. He’s also a member of the Mexican national team.
Graterol, a hard-throwing, 21-year-old right-hander, pitched 9⅔ innings last season in the majors, going 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA. In the minors last season, the Venezuelan was 7-0 with a 1.92 ERA across three levels. He was rated the No. 83 overall prospect for 2020 by MLB pipeline.
With news of the trade, the Dodgers’ World Series odds went from 7-1 to 4-1 at Caesars Sportsbook, while their odds of winning the NL pennant went from +300 to +150 and their projected win total went from 99 to 100. The Red Sox’s projected win total went from 87.5 to 86.5, while their World Series odds went from 20-1 to 25-1.