Newly retired Red Sox star Dustin Pedroia underwent partial knee replacement in December

More than 12 months before announcing his retirement from baseball on Monday after spending 17 years with the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia was preparing for the 2020 regular season.

The longtime second baseman was limited to just six games in 2019 and had undergone a successful left knee joint preservation procedure — his third knee surgery since October 2017 — that August in Colorado.

“Last January, going into [the 2020 season],  I was still working out, still trying to get ready to come back and play. And I woke up one morning and my knee was huge,” Pedroia told reporters via Zoom earlier Monday. “I went and saw the doctors and it looked like an explosion went off in there. So, I was told that I needed to get a partial knee replacement.”

Given the logistics that go into a procedure of that magnitude, it took quite a bit of time for Pedroia — with the Red Sox helping him research which doctor would be best to perform the operation — to set something up.

“By the time that that happened, by the time I was going to have that surgery, the pandemic hit,” the 37-year-old continued. “That set everything back a lot. So, it got to a point where finally surgeries opened back up. And in December, I had a partial knee replacement.”

Pedroia spent the entirety of 2020 (spring training, summer camp, regular season) away from the Red Sox and instead spent time with his family at home in Arizona.

“I’m glad none of you guys got a chance to see me. I wasn’t in a good place,” he said. “I grinded every day just to be able to play with my kids and just live a normal life. My knee was bad, and I’m a young guy.

It took approximately a week after the surgery for Pedroia to be able to walk with no pain in his knee, but he is still dealing with the repercussions from the operation now.

“In December, I had the surgery, and a week later, I could tell that I could walk without pain,” said the four-time All-Star. “I can basically do everything now except run. I can’t run anymore, which is fine. I don’t need to run. Once I had the surgery, nobody has played with a partial knee replacement because of the fear of it breaks and the rest of my life would be severely impacted by it.”

With this in mind, Pedroia’s playing career effectively came to an end, which at the time was frustrating considering the fact that the former American League MVP had put together back-to-back solid campaigns in his age-32 and -33 seasons in 2016 and 2017.

“I think the hardest part was I felt like I was in my prime and understanding how to play the game as I got older,” Pedroia stated. “2016 was one of my best years, and the first month of ’17 I was rolling right along and one play kind of derailed a lot of that and threw all of us in a pattern we were trying to find a way to get out of.”

That one play, of course, would be when former Orioles infielder Manny Machado slid into Pedroia’s left knee during the eighth inning of a game in Baltimore on April 21, 2017.

Pedroia still managed to play 105 games in 2017 despite that play, but offseason surgery that winter all but marked the end of his playing career despite several valiant efforts to return.

“After all of our trainers and doctors and everybody… We saw everybody and we did it together and we heard the news that it wasn’t possible to play with this,” he said. “So, when the cards are stacked against you, I tried — we all tried to do everything possible to continue to play. And I’m proud of that and I’m proud of the way that our trainers helped me and the doctors and everybody.”

As hard as he tried to come back from injury by playing in three games in 2018 and six in 2019, Pedroia reached a point where his body could not keep up any longer, and that came when he underwent partial knee replacement late last year.

“But it wasn’t physically possible for me to continue to play baseball with a partial knee replacement,” said Pedroia. “So once I got that done, I knew. And the team has been great at leading me in the right directions on things to do and how to get better. And just to be better for my everyday life. Because I’m only 37 years old and I’ve got a long way to go.”

(Picture of Dustin Pedroia: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox are ‘preparing for a series of moves’ in an effort to upgrade 2021 roster, per report

Despite having a relatively quiet offseason thus far, the Red Sox may be preparing to make a series of roster moves ahead of the start of spring training, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Per Olney, “the expectation [for the Sox] is that they will [make moves] in an effort to upgrade the ’21 team.”

Since ending the 2020 season with the fourth-worst record in baseball (24-36), Boston has made a handful of major-league caliber additions to its roster so far this offseason.

In November, right-hander Joel Payamps was claimed off waivers from the Diamondbacks, while the likes of Eduard Bazardo, Jay Groome, Bryan Mata, Hudson Potts, Jeisson Rosario, Connor Seabold, and Connor Wong were all added to the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 deadline.

In December, righty Garrett Whitlock was selected from the Yankees in the major-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft, while a pair of former Rays — right-hander Matt Andriese and outfielder Hunter Renfroe — were signed to one-year deals for the 2021 season. Andriese’s contract includes a team option for 2022.

Outside of that, the Red Sox have jettisoned quite a few players — Tzu-Wei Lin, Yairo Munoz, Robert Stock, Kyle Hart, etc. — off its 40-man roster. They have also added (or re-signed) lesser-known players to minor-league deals for 2021.

Outfielder Cesar Puello, left-hander Stephen Gonsalves, and right-handers Daniel Gossett and Kevin McCarthy stand out among that group given the fact that all four have major-league experience.

Having laid that all out, it becomes quite apparent that the Sox have yet to make a huge splash either via trade or free agency pickup. And to be fair, not many teams except the Mets and Padres have to this point.

With that in mind, as well as taking what Olney tweeted into consideration, it would appear that Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. are preparing to make some noise one way or the other this winter.

Outfielder Andrew Benintendi has been thrown out there in trade rumors with the Sox seeking young pitching or outfield help in return, two-time Cy Young Award winner and current free-agent right-hander Corey Kluber is slated to pitch in front of interested teams in Florida on Wednesday. These are just some of the avenues Boston could be exploring as spring training draws closer.

As for other specific players the Red Sox could be in pursuit of this winter, Bloom somewhat addressed that topic when asked about his ‘offseason check list’ during a radio interview on WEEI late last month.

“Right now, there’s a lot of players on it,” Bloom said in regards to his list. “Part of that is a function of where we are, where there’s a lot of different ways we can improve, and part of it is how we are looking to improve. In the short-term, we have touched base with so many different players who we think could help us, who could fit us. There’s pitching, obviously, but also on the position player side. I think there’s different ways we can improve and different profiles of players we can bring in to help us.

“We also don’t want to take our eye off the ball that at the end of the day, we’re not just looking to put a little plaster in here and patch some holes,” he added. “We’re looking to take this organization back to where we can compete for championships consistently, year in and year out. And that means we got to be open to different moves, different acquisitions that might not just be about 2021. But, it just speaks to [the fact] that there’s a lot of different ways that we can improve. The No. 1 question we ask ourselves on anybody is: Is this pushing us towards that goal of sustaining a championship contender here? If the answer is yes, then we can explore it further, we can figure out how it impacts us in the near-term, what it might mean for other players, and hopefully we check as many of those boxes as possible.”

On top of being open to different sorts of roster moves, Bloom also expressed confidence that the Red Sox would be able to add a few more new players to improve the team before pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers next month.

“I would hope that by the end of this offseason, there’s a number of different guys we’ve brought in here,” he said. “There’s certain possibilities on the trade market, creative things that could come together. They may not, because those things are harder to do — they take at least two to tango. But, different things that hopefully can impact us beyond just this year as well.”

And, again, for what it’s worth, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is still at full capacity. So, if in the next few days or weeks the club designates a player or multiple players for assignment, that could signal that another move could be coming, if that makes sense.

Then again, if a player of Benintendi’s status were to be traded, that kind of supplementary roster move might not be necessary. It really all depends on what Bloom and Co. have in store.

(Picture of Chaim Bloom: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox add free-agent outfielder Michael Gettys on minor-league deal, re-sign Emmanuel De Jesus

The Red Sox have signed free agent outfielder Michael Gettys to a minor-league contract, per Major League Baseball’s transaction wire.

Gettys, who turned 25 last month, had spent the previous seven seasons with the Padres organization after being selected by San Diego in the second round of the 2014 amateur draft.

A Georgia native, Gettys declared for free agency earlier in November after not being included in the Padres’ 60-man player pool at any point during the 2020 season.

Prior to 2020, Gettys had made it as far as Triple-A El Paso, where he posted a .256/.305/.517 slash line to go along with 31 home runs and 91 RBI over 128 games played in 2019. He also swiped 14 bases en route to being named an organization All-Star for San Diego.

As much as he thrived as a power hitter last year, Gettys also dealt with his fair share of strikeouts, too. In 551 plate appearances with El Paso, he whiffed 168 times, or in other words, a whopping 30.5% of the time.

In terms of defensive capabilities, the 6-foot-1, 217 lb. outfielder has experience playing all three outfield positions, so that versatility may have played a key role in his signing with the Red Sox.

By adding Gettys, the Sox have now acquired three former Padres prospects in some fashion within the last three months. Back in August, the club acquired infield prospect Hudson Potts and outfield prospect Jeisson Rosario from San Diego in exchange for first baseman Mitch Moreland.

Both Potts and Rosario are eligible for this December’s Rule 5 draft, as is Gettys. And although neither Potts nor Rosario have played above Double-A yet, Gettys has a solid track record at the Triple-A level, so he could very well start the 2021 campaign in Worcester depending on how things pan out in the spring.

On another note, the Red Sox also resigned left-hander Emmanuel De Jesus to a minor-league contract.

De Jesus, who turns 24 next month, originally signed with Boston as an international free agent out of Venezuela for $787,500 back in 2013.

The lanky southpaw most recently posted a 3.58 ERA over 24 starts and 130 2/3 innings pitched for High-A Salem in 2019. He, too, is Rule 5 eligible this winter.

MLB free agency: Red Sox, Jackie Bradley Jr. have talked about outfielder returning to Boston, per report

The Red Sox have reportedly approached Jackie Bradley Jr. about bringing the free-agent outfielder back for the 2021 season “and beyond,” according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

Per Bradford, the Red Sox “are far from the only suitors for Bradley Jr., with the Astros showing strong interest and one American League Central team putting the 30-year-old at the top of its free agent wish-list.”

Bradley Jr., who does not turn 31 until next April, is coming off one of his better all-around seasons in the majors in 2020. Primarily serving as Boston’s centerfielder, the former first-round draft pick slashed a robust .283/.364/.450 to go along with seven home runs and 22 RBI over 55 games played.

Those impressive numbers, as well as still proving to be one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, will certainly help Bradley Jr.’s case as he embarks on free agency for the first time in his career.

Based off industry speculation, which can best be highlighted by MLB Trade Rumors’ free agency predictions, the Boras Corp. client is projected to land a two-year deal worth somewhere around $16 million this winter after not receiving a qualifying offer from Boston earlier this month.

MLBTR, in correspondence with the aforementioned report from Bradford, have Bradley Jr. joining the Astros on that two-year pact, but it would appear that the Red Sox can not be ruled out as favorites to retain the South Carolina product’s services.

“We love Jackie,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters back in August. “That shouldn’t be news. He’s been here for a long time. He means an enormous amount to this organization. For me personally, not having known him as long, I’ve still come to regard him so highly and see what an incredible person he is. We know he’s a good player. We’d love to have him for a long time. But that was the case months ago. It’s the case yesterday. It’s the case today. It’s the case tomorrow.”

Besides Bradley Jr., this year’s free agency class is not exactly filled to the brim with starting-caliber centerfielders save for three-time All-Star George Springer, who has a qualifying offer attached to him. The likes of Jarrod Dyson, Brett Gardner, Jake Marisnick, and Kevin Pillar represent some of the other possibilities on that front.

Internally, the Sox could move either one of Andrew Benintendi or Alex Verdugo to center, both of whom have logged a combined 147 games at the position at the major-league level. Neither would likely provide the level of defensive prowess Bradley Jr. would, though, and another vacancy at either corner outfield spot would open up as a result.

Looking at the prospect pipeline, outfielder Jarren Duran, Boston’s No. 8 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is without a doubt one of the Sox’ most exciting young talents.

The 24-year-old had a terrific spring and consistently put on a show at the alternate training site in Pawtucket over the summer, but he still may be at the point where he needs just a little more time to develop before getting the call.

Marcus Wilson, who is currently on Boston’s 40-man roster, and Jeisson Rosario, who will presumably be on Boston’s 40-man roster within the next 12 days, are also intriguing options, but like Duran, neither have played above the Double-A level yet.

At the end of the day, who Bloom and Co. decide to roll with at center field moving forward will be no simple decision. Perhaps the Sox will take advantage of what looks to be a slow-moving market this winter, but if a savvy team like the Astros are that interested in acquiring Bradley Jr.’s services, they will surely be aggressive in doing so.

On another note, it should be fascinating to see how Bradley Jr., who described free agency as “cool” because “you get to weigh out your options,” goes about fielding offers this winter. Will he allow the Red Sox to counter any offer he may get? Or, will he just take the best deal possible due to the current economic climate? We will have to wait and see on that.

Red Sox free agency: right-hander Keone Kela comments that he would ‘love’ to play in Boston

Former Pirates reliever and current free-agent right-hander Keone Kela recently expressed an interest to play with the Red Sox through social media.

Early Friday night, Major League Baseball’s official Instagram account posted an update pertaining to the Red Sox’ rehiring of Alex Cora to be their next manager.

Within minutes of the post going live, Kela took to the comment section, tagged the Sox’ official Instagram handle (@redsox) and simply expressed his thoughts through the use of the ‘100’ emoji (💯).

According to Dictionary.com, the ‘100’ emoji is “used in digital communication to express or emphasize achievement, support, approval, and motivation. It also generally means ‘absolutely’ or ‘keep it 100’ (keep it real), so it would appear that Kela approves of the move by the Red Sox to bring Cora back.

On top of that, when urged by a fellow commenter to ‘come on down [to Boston], Kela replied, “I’d love to” followed by a heart emoji. The full exchange can be seen in this accompanying screenshot, courtesy of Reddit user u/williamsw21.

Kela, 27, has spent the last 2 1/2 seasons with the Pirates after beginning his big-league career with the Rangers in 2015.

In his time with Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles native posted a 2.49 ERA and 3.54 FIP over 51 total appearances and 47 innings pitched going back to July 2018.

Most recently, in what was already a truncated 2020 campaign, Kela managed to appear in just three games for the Pirates on account of testing positive for COVID-19 in July and going down with right forearm tightness in late August.

Seeing how he is still relatively young as he enters free agency for the first time, Kela could look to take a short-term deal this offseason in order to better establish his value next winter if he can stay healthy.

According to Statcast, the righty has in his arsenal a curveball that hovers around 82-83 mph, a four-seam fastball that hovers around 96 mph and can top out at 98 mph, and a changeup that hovers around 90-91 mph.

Taking that into consideration, the Red Sox could perhaps benefit from adding someone of Kela’s caliber to the mix in their bullpen. The club is coming off a 2020 season in which it owned the second-worst bullpen ERA (5.72) in the American League.

There are certainly other free-agent relievers the Red Sox could target here, such as Liam Hendriks, Trevor May, or Blake Treinen, but seeing how Kela, or whoever runs his Instagram account, has expressed an interest in signing with Boston, this may very well be an avenue worth exploring for chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co.

On another note, Cora’s return makes it seem as though the Red Sox could become a more popular destination for free-agents since the Sox skipper is so well regarded by players. That should be something worth paying attention to as the offseason progresses.

Former Red Sox utilityman Tzu-Wei Lin is now a minor-league free agent

Last week, the Red Sox outrighted utilityman Tzu-Wei Lin and four other players from their 40-man roster.

At the time, I thought that because he was outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket, or Worcester, Lin was going to remain within the organization for the time being as opposed to becoming a free agent like Mike Kickham, Zack Godley, or Andrew Triggs.

It turns out that one week following his being outrighted, the 26-year-old was declared a minor-league free agent earlier Monday, according to Baseball America.

Lin was among 21 Red Sox minor-leaguers who became free agents to kick off the week. That list includes the likes of Jett Bandy, Juan Centeno, Ryder Jones, Tommy Joseph, Robinson Leyer, Nick Longhi, and Dan McGrath, among others.

The Taiwanese native had been with Boston for more than eight years after signing for just over $2 million as an international free agent in 2012.

Most recently, Lin had a tough go of things with the Sox this past season, as he posted an uninspiring .154/.182/.173 slash line to go along with two runs scored and three runs driven in while playing in 26 of a possible 60 games.

As was the case with infielder Marco Hernandez last year, it would not surprise me in the slightest if the Red Sox at least entertain the idea of a reunion with Lin at some point this winter if another club does not acquire his services first.

That is not to say Lin will have a bevy of suitors, but considering the fact he is a defense-first utilityman who can play all around the infield and outfield, one would think at least a handful of teams could be interested in signing him to a minor-league deal with an invite to major-league spring training. We will have to wait and see on that.

Tzu-Wei Lin, Zack Godley Among Five Players Outrighted From Red Sox’ 40-Man Roster

The Red Sox are full steam ahead in terms of trimming down their 40-man roster. After losing righty Domingo Tapia on waivers over the weekend, the club announced Monday that five players have been outrighted.

Both utilityman Tzu-Wei Lin and right-hander Robinson Leyer were outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket, or Worcester, while right-handers Zack Godley and Andrew Triggs, and left-hander Mike Kickham were outrighted and elected free agency.

Among these five players who have now been dropped from Boston’s 40-man roster, Lin was the longest tenured Red Sox.

The 26-year-old originally signed as an international free agent out of Taiwan in 2012 and made his major-league debut with the Sox five years later.

Lin got his big-league career off to a hot start thanks to a solid rookie campaign in 2017, but he has since cooled down considerably. Most recently, he collected just eight hits in 57 plate appearances (.154) this past season while only playing in 26 of a possible 60 games.

Because he was outrighted to Triple-A, it is safe to assume that Lin went unclaimed on waivers, which is understandable seeing how he is out of minor-league options. That being said, the Red Sox should find themselves fortunate to retain Lin’s services, as he could provide quality depth at multiple positions and be an interesting name to monitor come the spring.

As for the pitchers involved here, all four made their Red Sox debuts in 2020, while Leyer also made his major-league debut on August 31. Both he and Kickham had been with the Sox since 2019, though Kickham signed a minor-league pact with the club in December.

Godley and Triggs, meanwhile, were in-season acquisitions, as the former inked a minor-league deal with the Sox in July and the latter was claimed off waivers from the Giants in August.

The two veteran hurlers combined to allow 30 earned runs over 12 outings (nine starts) and 36 2/3 innings pitched with Boston this year. That’s good for an ERA of 7.36.

With these moves made, the Red Sox currently have 35 players on their 40-man roster. More roster shuffling will have to be done by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. in order to protect the likes of prospects Jay Groome, Bryan Mata, Hudson Potts, Jeisson Rosario, Connor Seabold, and Connor Wong from the Rule 5 Draft in December.

Additionally, as noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. electing free agency the day after the World Series ends will free up another roster spot, though Andrew Benintendi, Chris Sale, Colten Brewer, Dustin Pedroia, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Kyle Hart — who are all on the 60-man injured list — will have to be returned to the Sox’ 40-man roster within the next seven days.

Dodgers’ Mookie Betts Says He Has No Regrets About Turning Down $300 Million Contract Extension From Red Sox

Former Red Sox star and current Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts says he has no regrets about turning down a 10-year, $300 million contract extension from Boston during the 2019 offseason.

According to WEEI’s Lou Merloni, the Sox had made that offer to Betts in their third attempt to keep the 2018 American League MVP in Boston long-term.

Betts countered that offer with $420 million over 12 years, and things only fell apart from there as the four-time All-Star was dealt to Los Angeles in February.

At the time he was traded, Betts was gearing up to become one of this winter’s most coveted free agents and seemed locked in on signing a record-setting deal with whichever team would be willing to pay up.

Flash forward a little less than five months later, and the 27-year-old may have to settle for less of a payday than he was originally expecting due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has placed financial constraints on a many major-league ballclub.

Despite facing that potentially harsh reality, Betts still has no remorse about turning down that aforementioned extension from the Red Sox. He said as much at press conference at Dodger Stadium earlier Monday.

“I don’t regret turning down that [offer],” the Tennessee native told reporters. “Once I make a decision, I make a decision. I’m not going back and questioning myself. I don’t worry about that. The market will be what it is. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

Added Betts: “Free agency is really on the back-burner. That’ll come. That’s nothing that I’m really thinking about right now. Right now, the main concern is (health and safety). There’s a lot going on, we haven’t gotten tests back and we don’t know who’s sick and not sick. There’s just a lot going on that needs to be addressed and free agency is not one of those things right now. That will come when it comes.”

It’s also worth mentioning that Betts is one of a number of players who don’t seem entirely confident that this truncated 2020 season will reach its conclusion even though Opening Day is less than three weeks away. He even said that he still has doubts about playing for the Dodgers in a real game.

How things continue in terms of adequate COVID-19 testing and protocols for teams will certainly be something to monitor moving forward.

Revisiting Christian Vazquez’s Contract Extension and Looking Ahead to J.T. Realmuto’s Upcoming Free Agency

Two years ago last month, the Red Sox and catcher Christian Vazquez reached agreement on a three-year, $13.35 million contract extension that included a club option for 2022.

Since that time, Vazquez, now 29 years old, has had the worst and best seasons of his major-league career in several categories, including OPS, wRC+, and fWAR.

In an injury-riddled 2018 campaign, Vazquez slashed a measly .207/.257/.283 with three home runs and 24 runs driven in in just 80 games played. He missed most of July and all of August due to a right pinky fracture.

That led many skeptics to believe that giving the Puerto Rican backstop an extension may have been a mistake, but he rebounded in a tremendous way in 2019.

Emerging as the everyday catcher, Vazquez posted a .276/.320/.477 slash line to go along with a career-high 23 home runs and career-high 72 RBI over 138 games played.

Among the 14 major-league catchers who accrued at least 400 plate appearances last year, Vazquez ranked third in fWAR (3.5). Defensively, he also ranked third among qualified catchers in FanGraphs’ Defense metric (22.2) while throwing out 38% of the 58 base runners who tried to steal against him. That effort behind the plate was good enough for Vazquez to be named a Gold Glove Award finalist, although Indians backstop Roberto Perez was the won that received the honor in the end.

Still, a three-win season in the official first year of that aforementioned three-year extension is nothing to hang your head on.

Vazquez is set to earn approximately $4.2 million this year headed into his age-29 season. Although he’ll likely make less than that in the event of a shortened or cancelled season, that amount currently ranks 16th among salaried catchers, per Spotrac. In other words, if Vazquez continues to make strides offensively and stays consistent as a defender, that could be a bargain.

However, in the event that Vazquez takes a step back if baseball is played in 2020, would it be out of the realm of possibilities for the Red Sox to look to upgrade at catcher this winter?

The 2020-2021 free agency class includes names such as Mookie Betts, George Springer, Marcus Semien, Marcus Stroman, Trevor Bauer, and maybe most importantly in this scenario, All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Realmuto is set to become a free agent for the first time this winter after spending the 2019 and 2020 seasons with the Phillies.

Coming off a year in which he finished 14th in National League MVP voting while picking up his first Gold Glove and second Silver Slugger Awards, Realmuto is without a doubt one of, if not the best backstop in baseball at the moment.

A client of CAA Sports, Realmuto, who is a little more than five months younger than Vazquez, is likely to demand a lucrative contract if he does indeed hit the open market later this year.

The Phillies, led by general manager and Medfield native Matt Klentak, are probably going to be intent on retaining his services. But, if the Red Sox, led by another Ivy League graduate in the form of Chaim Bloom, want to make a splash this winter, which they should have the ability to do now that they got under the luxury tax threshold, Realmuto could be an appealing option.

As noted great Twitter follow @RedSoxStats points out, Realmuto “forms a great long-term catcher situation with [prospect] Connor Wong. You get the best catcher in the game [who] won’t be a contract monstrosity, [and you] can auction off two years of Vazquez.”

If another club views the remaining two years on Vazquez’s deal after 2020 as a relative bargain for a quality starting catcher, the plan for the Sox could then pertain to “bringing in an elite player and limiting the spread of mediocrity across the team” in a potential trade for Vazquez.

As unlikely as it looks now, the idea of Bloom and Co. pursuing Realmuto and shopping Vazquez this winter is certainly something to think about. If he performs in 2020 as he did in 2019, Vazquez may just be the safe way to go thanks to his relatively cheap salary, but if you have the chance to acquire the services of one of the best players at their respective positions, you at least have to do your due diligence, right?

Red Sox Reach New Agreement With Dodgers to Send Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles

It took five days longer than expected, but the Red Sox and Dodgers have reportedly agreed to a trade that would send outfielder Mookie Betts and left-hander David Price to Los Angeles, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Going back to Tuesday night, the original deal that would have shipped Betts and Price to southern California involved a third team in the Twins. In this three-team swap, Los Angeles would have received Betts, Price, and cash considerations, Minnesota would have received right-hander Kenta Maeda, and Boston would have received outfielder Alex Verdugo and right-handed pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol.

Upon reviewing Graterol’s medical information though, the Sox became worried over how the 21-year-old flamethrower projected to be more of a reliever than a starter, and thus sought out additional compensation from the Twins.

Since parting ways with another top prospect really would not have been to their benefit, Minnesota ultimately decided to back out of the three-team trade on Saturday and now have their own deal in place with the Dodgers that would net them Maeda and cash considerations in exchange for Graterol and the 67th pick in this year’s amateur draft, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

So, with the Twins out of the picture, the Red Sox and Dodgers were able to work things out themselves without needing another third team to step in.

In this now-agreed-upon trade, Boston will be receiving Verdugo as initially anticipated, as well as 21-year-old infield prospect Jeter Downs and 23-year-old catching prospect Connor Wong from the Dodgers.

As already mentioned, Los Angeles will be receiving Betts, Price, and $48 million from the Sox, which were all part of the original agreement.

Betts, 27, is set to earn $27 million this coming season before becoming a free agent for the first time in the winter. Price, meanwhile, has three years and $96 million remaining on the seven-year, $217 million deal he signed with Boston back in December 2015. The Red Sox will be paying half of that remaining amount.

Turning to the return Chaim Bloom got in his first blockbuster trade as Boston’s chief baseball officer, Verdugo is a former top prospect in his own right.

The 23-year-old out of Arizona slashed .294/.342/.475 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI over 106 games for the Dodgers last year. He did not play a major-league game after August 4th due to a plethora of issues involving his lower back, core, and right oblique.

As for Downs, the 21-year-old was not part of the original deal but he will be heading to the Red Sox this time around.

Ranked as the Dodgers’ No. 5 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Downs, a former Competitive Balance Round A pick out of Miami, played in 119 games between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa last year.

In those contests, the native of Colombia slashed .276/.362/.526 with 24 home runs, 86 RBI, and 24 stolen bases while primarily playing shortstop.

Downs was named after former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, and he is the younger brother of current Red Sox minor-league outfielder Jerry Downs.

Finally, Wong was ranked as Los Angeles’ No. 28 prospect by MLB.com and, like Downs, was drafted by the Dodgers in 2017.

Playing in 111 games between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa in 2019, the Houston native posted a .281/.336/.541 slash line to go along with 24 home runs and 82 RBI.

This five-player trade is no longer pending medical reviews but nothing has been made official quite yet. All that is left is approval from Major League Baseball on the transfer of the $48 million going to the Dodgers, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

At the end of the day, it still stinks that the Red Sox are trading a player like Mookie Betts, a homegrown superstar who should spend his entire career wearing one uniform.

I understand that you can’t force Betts to sign a contract extension and you don’t want him to leave for nothing outside of a compensatory draft pick in the winter, but still, this stings.

It also stinks, although to a lesser extent, to lose David Price, because without him another hole opens in an already questionable Red Sox starting rotation.

Pitchers and catchers are set to report to Fenway South in Fort Myers on Tuesday. Looking forward to it!