Red Sox Deal Mookie Betts, David Price to Dodgers in Blockbuster Trade

The Red Sox have reportedly agreed to trade star outfielder Mookie Betts and left-handed pitcher David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

In return, Boston would receive outfielder Alex Verdugo and right-handed pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol from Los Angeles.

Graterol was acquired by the Dodgers from the Twins in an earlier trade that sent right-hander Kenta Maeda to Minnesota. In total, five players were involved in this three-team blockbuster.

For the past week or so, it seemed as though a deal involving Betts going to a National League West club was inevitable, with the Dodgers eventually winning the sweepstakes and the Padres presumably finishing as the runner-up.

The 27-year-old is set to earn $27 million in 2020 before becoming a free agent for the first time next winter.

As for Price, the 34-year-old is still owed $96 million over the final three years of the seven-year, $217 million pact he inked with the Sox back in December 2015. It looks like Boston will be responsible for about half of that financial commitment going forward with Los Angeles picking up the rest.

In Verdugo and Graterol, the Red Sox now have two controllable pieces who have both seen time in the majors recently.

Starting with Verdugo, the 23-year-old out of Tuscon, Arizona appeared in 106 games for the Dodgers last season, slashing .294/.342/.475 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI.

Back in August, Verdugo was placed on the injured list due to a right oblique strain and did not appear in a major league game for the remainder of the year after suffering a setback while on a minor-league rehab assignment. He also dealt with lower back soreness.

With Graterol, the Sox get Baseball America’s 60th-ranked prospect headed into the new season.

The 21-year-old Venezuelan made his major-league debut for Minnesota last September and allowed a total of five earned runs on 10 hits and two walks to go along with 10 strikeouts over 10 relief appearances spanning 9 2/3 innings of work.

Graterol projects to be either a middle-of-the-rotation starter or high-leverage reliever, depending on how well he can manage his arsenal, which includes a high-velocity sinker.

Of course, parting ways with both Betts and Price stings mightily. The pair played key roles in one of the most successful runs in franchise history that included three straight American League East titles and a historic World Series-winning campaign in 2018.

Originally drafted out of high school in the fifth round of the 2011 amateur draft, Betts rose to become the best homegrown player the Red Sox have developed in quite some time.

Because Betts will be a free agent for the first time come November, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to believe that the two sides could entertain a potential reunion when the time comes.

Betts’ strategy seems to be to go to the highest bidder once he does hit the open market, so if the Red Sox are willing to meet his demands, which seems unlikely at this point, why not? A man can dream.

This blockbuster may not have been Chaim Bloom’s first move since being named the Sox’ chief baseball officer last October, but it sure is the most impactful one.

Since medical information still needs to be reviewed, this trade has yet to be finalized.

Red Sox Bring Back Mitch Moreland on One-Year Deal

The Red Sox have brought back free-agent first baseman Mitch Moreland on a one-year, $3 million deal for the 2020 season. In a corresponding move, right-handed pitching prospect Denyi Reyes was designated for assignment in order to make room for Moreland on the 40-man roster. The club made the transactions official earlier Tuesday.

According to The Athletics’ Ken Rosenthal, Moreland’s new contract will net him $2.5 million in 2020 and also includes a $3 million club option or $500,000 buyout for 2021.

The 34-year-old veteran had spent the previous three seasons with Boston after agreeing to a one-year, $5.5 million deal in December 2016 and a two-year, $13 million deal in December 2017.

Most recently, Moreland slashed .252/.328/.507 with 19 home runs and 58 RBI over 91 games in an injury-riddled campaign this past season.

Since free agency began at the beginning of November, bringing back Moreland always seemed like an appealing option even with the influx of infielders the Red Sox have.

With Moreland returning, the Sox get a familiar veteran presence back at a time when it will more than likely be needed under a new manager. They now also have the ability to platoon the Mississippi native, a left-handed bat, with either of Michael Chavis or Bobby Dalbec, both right-handed bats, at first base.

Dalbec, the Sox’ No. 2 prospect, might need more time at Triple-A Pawtucket at the start of the season for development or service time purposes, so there will be no need to rush the 24-year-old up now.

Chavis, meanwhile, has the opportunity to hover around the field now without committing to a single position, as noted by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

As for the other side of this move, Denyi Reyes was ranked as Boston’s No. 26 prospect on MLB.com

The 23-year-old right-hander was a surprising addition to the 40-man roster in November 2018 given how he had yet to pitch past the High-A level.

Making 26 starts for Double-A Portland last year, Reyes posted a 4.16 ERA and .243 batting average against over 151 1/3 innings pitched.

Presumably, the Red Sox would like Reyes to sneak through waivers so that he can remain with the club in a non-40-man roster spot capacity.

Red Sox Have ‘Expressed Interest’ in Padres Catching Prospect Luis Campusano in Mookie Betts Trade Talks, per Report

In discussions with the San Diego Padres revolving around the idea of trading star outfielder Mookie Betts, the Red Sox have reportedly ‘expressed interest’ in acquiring Padres catching prospect Luis Campusano in any potential deal, per The Athletic’s Dennis Lin.

Campusano, who turned 21 last September, was listed as the fifth-best prospect in San Diego’s farm system and the seventh-best catching prospect in baseball at the end of the 2019 season, according to MLB.com.

The former 2017 second-round pick out of Cross Creek High School in Georgia put together an impressive campaign in his second full professional season last year, slashing .325/.396/.509 with 15 home runs and 81 RBI over 110 games played for the High-A Lake Elsinore Storm. He was named co-MVP of the California League for his efforts back in August.

In the Arizona Fall League, Campusano, along with other Padres prospects, played for the Peoria Javelinas, the same team the Red Sox were affiliated with.

In an organization that is full of quality prospects, Campusano might not garner the same attention that others such as MacKensie Gore or Luis Patino do, but he is an exciting player nonetheless.

“He’s really special,” Lake Elsinore hitting coach Doug Banks said of Campusano in an interview with Baseball America last June. “He does some special things. There’s things he can do because he’s just so talented. For him to do what he’s doing at his position, catching, being as young as he is, it really is incredible.”

Any deal that involves Betts heading to San Diego would most likely involve the Red Sox getting multiple pieces, prospects and major-league players alike, in return, such as 29-year-old outfielder Wil Myers, who is owed $61 million over the next three seasons.

Because Betts is set to become a free agent for the first time next winter, it is safe to say that Padres general manager AJ Preller would be unwilling to move a prized prospect like Gore for what could turn out to be just a one-year rental.

That’s where players like Campusano come in. The 79th-ranked prospect on Baseball America’s Top 100 list would easily become one of the three best prospects in the Sox’ system.

San Diego may value the young backstop highly, but with veteran catcher Austin Hedges and former top catching prospect Francisco Mejia already on the active roster, Campusano could be expandable. Especially for a player of Betts’ caliber.

On Thursday, Lin reported that an agreement between the Red Sox and Padres was viewed as ‘unlikely’ so there is still a possibility that nothing comes from all this speculation. We’ll have to wait and see on that.

 

Red Sox Have Not Asked for Permission to Speak to Mets Bench Coach Hensley Meulens About Managerial Opening

The Red Sox have yet to seek permission from the New York Mets to speak with bench coach Hensley Meulens about their managerial opening, per Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.

Van Waganen made this news clear after formally announcing that Luis Rojas, the club’s quality control coach, would be named manager less than a week after Carlos Beltran stepped down from the role due to being a key figure in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal going back to the 2017 season.

According to multiple reports, the Mets interviewed three internal candidates in Rojas (quality control coach), Meulens (bench coach), and Tony DeFrancesco (first base coach), to replace Beltran before ultimately reaching a final decision on Wednesday.

Going back to this past Sunday, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that the Sox had ‘shown interest’ in Meulens while he was still a candidate for the Mets job.

Now that that hole has been filled by Rojas, there are only two open managerial positions remaining in Boston and Houston.

In regard to the Astros job, owner Jim Crane has interviewed six candidates in Buck Showalter, John Gibbons, Will Venable, Dusty Baker, Eduardo Pérez and Joe Espada, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Chandler Rome.

There have been no links between Houston and Meulens, so perhaps now would be a good time for the Red Sox to reach out to the Mets bench coach about their managerial opening.

Of course, that all depends on the direction chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom wants to take here in either hiring a stopgap for one year before opening up a more extensive search next winter or hiring the ideal long-term guy right now.

Looking at his resume, Meulens, 52, has plenty of major-league coaching experience under his belt, as he served as Bruce Bochy’s hitting coach in San Francisco from 2010 until 2019. He was one of several candidates interviewed for the Yankees’ managerial opening prior to the start of the 2018 season and was named Mets bench coach last month.

The Curacao native also fits the mold of former major-league veterans who have gone onto become major-league managers, such as former Sox skipper Alex Cora.

When asked about the qualities he would like in Boston’s next manager at the Boston Baseball Writers Dinner last Thursday, Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts said that he would want “someone like Cora.”

This is not to say that Meulens is comparable to Cora, because I really do not know if he is. What I do know is that Meulens does have a relationship with Bogaerts thanks to him managing Team Netherlands in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He also speaks five languages, two of which being English and Spanish.

Since the Red Sox have yet to be seriously linked to any other external managerial candidates, there could still be a long way to go in this search. Either that, or the club decides to go with an internal candidate, like current bench coach Ron Roenicke, instead. Plenty more to come for sure.

Red Sox Trade Travis Lakins to Cubs, Outright Bobby Poyner to Triple-A Pawtucket

In a series of roster moves made Tuesday, the Red Sox have essentially moved on from two bullpen pieces, as right-handed reliever Travis Lakins was traded to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later or cash considerations and left-handed reliever Bobby Poyner was outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket, per WEEI’s Rob Bradford.

The move to deal Lakins comes four days after the 25-year-old hurler was somewhat surprisingly designated for assignment last Friday in order to make room on the Sox’ 40-man roster for the newly-acquired Matt Hall.

In 16 appearances (three starts) in 2019, Lakins posted an ERA of 3.86 and FIP of 3.64 over 23 1/3 innings of work during his rookie year.

The Ohio State product, taken in the sixth round of the 2015 amateur draft, opened some eyes while serving as the opener on three separate occasions for Boston in September, which made the decision to take him off the 40-man roster on Friday all the more puzzling.

Now, Lakins will have the chance to start fresh with a new organization, all while having two minor-league options remaining on his current contract.

As for Poyner, the 27-year-old was designated for assignment by the Red Sox last Wednesday after the club had acquired fellow southpaw Jeffrey Springs from the Texas Rangers in exchange for first baseman/outfielder Sam Travis.

In his second year in the majors, Poyner surrendered nine earned runs on 10 hits and five walks over 13 outings (one start) and 11 2/3 innings pitched. That’s good for an ERA of 6.94 and WHIP of 1.29. He’ll look to provide left-handed depth for Boston while with Pawtucket, where he fared much better in 2019 (3.77 ERA, 1.29 WHIP).

Red Sox Designate Travis Lakins for Assignment

After acquiring left-handed reliever Matt Hall from the Detroit Tigers earlier Friday, the Red Sox have designated right-handed reliever Travis Lakins for assignment in order to make room for Hall on the club’s 40-man roster.

Lakins, 25, made his big-league debut last April and went on to post a 3.86 ERA and 5.22 xFIP over 16 appearances (three starts) and 23 1/3 innings pitched spanning five different stints with the Sox.

Once ranked as highly as the No. 8 prospect in Boston’s system by MLB.com back in 2016, the former 2015 sixth-round pick out of Ohio State opened some eyes towards the latter part of the 2019 season.

There, serving as an “opener” for the Sox in September, Lakins combined to allow a total of two hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings of work in his first three career major-league starts.

That impressive showing made it seem as though the righty may be on his way tovying for an expanding role in the Red Sox’ bullpen come the spring, but that does not appear to be the case now.

Instead, if Lakins is not traded or released within the next seven days, he will more than likely be outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket and still get an invitation to major-league camp in February.

As things currently stand, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster stands at 40 players with more moves likely to come.

Red Sox Outright Marco Hernandez to Triple-A Pawtucket After He Clears Waivers

Less than a week after designating him for assignment in order to make room for reliever Austin Brice on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox outrighted utility infielder Marco Hernandez to Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday.

This roster move comes one day after the club dealt another utility piece in Sam Travis to the Texas Rangers in exchange for left-handed reliever Jeffrey Springs.

Like Hernandez, Travis was designated for assignment and outrighted to Triple-A earlier in the month, so it does not seem out of the realm of possibilities that the 27-year-old could also be traded in the coming weeks if there is any interest.

Returning from a two-year absence in 2019 due to multiple shoulder surgeries, Hernandez slashed .250/.279/.338 with two home runs and 11 RBI over 61 games for Boston last season.

Since Chaim Bloom took over as the Sox’ chief baseball officer last October, the Dominican Republic native has been non-tendered, brought back as a free agent, designated for assignment, and outrighted to the minors in the span of just over a month. Quite the eventful offseason.

Entering his sixth season with the Red Sox organization, Hernandez will look to compete for a spot back on Boston’s 40-man roster once spring training begins, if he is not already traded by then.

Red Sox and Mookie Betts Avoid Arbitration With Record-Breaking $27 Million Deal for 2020

The Red Sox and outfielder Mookie Betts have reportedly agreed to a one-year, $27 million deal for the 2020 season, thus avoiding salary arbitration, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

https://twitter.com/JeffPassan/status/1215694968137883648?s=20

Headed into his final year of salary arbitration before becoming a free agent for the first time next winter, the 27-year-old Betts was projected to earn around $27.7 million by MLB Trade Rumors and now comes away with a record-breaking $27 million.

Last year, the Colorado Rockies and All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado settled on a then-record-breaking $26 million for Arenado’s final year of arbitration eligibility before the two sides ultimately reached agreement on an eight-year, $260 million extension that February.

The news of Betts and the Sox coming to an agreement Friday comes on the same day that all 30 clubs and their eligible players had until 12 PM eastern time to exchange arbitration figures.

Just because Betts is now under contract for the 2020 season does not mean that the groundwork has been laid for a potential contract extension. But, it now gives opposing teams such as the Braves, Cardinals, or Dodgers, a more specific idea of what one year of the All-Star outfielder would cost in any trade conversations.

As we all know, Betts still appears locked in on hitting the open market come this November. If no extension between him and Boston is agreed upon by that time, the Tennessee native will have earned approximately $59.5 million in six full seasons with the Sox before reaching free agency.

Red Sox Designate Sam Travis for Assignment to Make Room on 40-Man Roster for Kevin Plawecki

In a corresponding move to signing catcher Kevin Plawecki to a one-year, major-league deal on Thursday, the Red Sox also announced that first baseman/outfielder Sam Travis had been designated for assignment.

As the above tweet indicates, the addition of Plawecki on a majors deal meant that someone else would need to be removed from the Red Sox’ 40-man roster, and now we know that it is indeed Travis.

Originally drafted by Boston in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Indiana University, the 26-year-old was out of options headed into the spring, meaning he would have had to make the Sox’ Opening Day roster.

In a career-high 59 games this past season, Travis slashed .215/.274/.382 to go along with six home runs and 16 RBI while playing first base and both corner outfield positions.

There was a stretch during the summer where it looked like the former top prospect was beginning to put it all together (he had an OPS of 1.007 from July 26th to August 20th), but he ultimately fizzled out over the final few weeks of the season.

With this move made, it now appears that Michael Chavis and Bobby Dalbec are the top two choices to take over first baseman duties for Boston in 2020. A reunion with free agent Mitch Moreland or even bringing in someone like Eric Thames could be in the mix as well.

Like MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo points out, Chaim Bloom and Co. now have seven days to either find a trade partner for Travis, waive him, or release him if nothing comes to fruition. If Travis goes unclaimed, he will be outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket and off the Sox’ 40-man roster.

Red Sox Agree to Major-League Deal With Catcher Kevin Plawecki

In their first move of the new decade and new year, the Red Sox have reportedly agreed to a one-year, major-league deal with free-agent catcher Kevin Plawecki, per Robert Murray and The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Plawecki, who turns 29 in February, slashed .222/.287/.342 with three home runs and 17 RBI over 59 games with the Cleveland Indians this past season.

The former Met was non-tendered by Cleveland on December 2nd, the same day the club acquired catcher Sandy Leon from Boston in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Adenys Bautista.

Because the Red Sox’ 40-man roster was already at full capacity prior to this signing, expect an additional roster move to be made once this deal becomes official.

Since it is a major-league contract that Plawecki signed, it would appear that the 2012 first-round pick out of Purdue University is locked in to become Christian Vazquez’s backup this coming season.

The addition of Plawecki also stays consistent with chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. continuing to make low risk, high reward kind of signings, like with Martin Perez and Jose Peraza.

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the deal is for one year and is worth $900,000. Plawecki is also eligible for arbitration.