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Red Sox, Dodgers, Twins Execute Massive 3-team trade

The Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins pulled off a mind-boggling 3-team trade this past Monday, with the headliner being 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts, an outfielder, heading to play in Dodger Blue. 

The Dodgers also received veteran starting pitcher David Price, a former Cy Young winner although his effectiveness has declined recently, and flamethrowing young pitcher Brudar Graterol and minor league outfielder Luke Raley from the Twins. Going to Boston are two top prospects, outfielder Alex Verdugo and shortstop Jeter Downs, as well as Connor Wong, a lower-level minor leaguer. The Twins received veteran starting pitcher Kenta Maeda and minor league catcher Jair Camargo from the Dodgers. This comes after nearly a week of limbo when a medical review of pitcher Brudar Graterol held up the progress of the trade.

The trade follows weeks of speculation that the Red Sox would attempt to deal away the superstar Betts, as they could not agree to a contract extension. The Red Sox had a disastrous 2019 season, leading to rumors that they would try to “rebuild” their roster by making it cheaper and younger. This trade appears to be a major step in this process, and it is sure to be an unpopular one.

In return, the Red Sox receive Verdugo, 23, who was the 19th highest-ranked prospect in baseball last year, according to Baseball Prospectus. He won’t immediately fill the massive shoes of Mookie Betts in Boston, but he has the potential to be a star on both sides of the ball. The other major prospect they received is Jeter Downs. He is not quite as highly regarded as Verdugo, but he is still a consensus top-100 prospect.

The Dodger’s side of the trade, in the meantime, is immense. Already considered World Series contenders, they just added one of the best players in baseball in Mookie Betts. He is a bonafide superstar. David Price is not nearly as effective as when he won the Cy Young in 2012, but he is still a proven effective starting pitcher, a valuable asset. His contract is extremely costly, at $32 million per year, but the Red Sox have reportedly agreed to cover half of that cost. They also receive Brusdar Graterol, an electric young pitcher who can throw in excess of 100 MPH with his fastball. He brings along a questionable health record, which calls into question whether he can remain a starting pitcher long-term. Even if he is forced to pitch less often in a relief role, Graterol could be an elite arm for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers will also receive a “competitive balance” draft pick from the Twins. The most draft picks in baseball aren’t tradeable, except for competitive balance picks. The pick isn’t extremely valuable, but it’s also possible it could turn into the league’s next superstar. Because it’s only a competitive balance pick, the Twins still retain all of their normal draft selections.

The last part of the trade is the Minnesota Twins. While giving up the dynamic Graterol has to hurt, Kenta Maeda fills a big whole in an otherwise elite roster. Maeda is excellent at striking out batters and avoiding giving up hard hits, which are usually two strong indicators of success for a pitcher, but due to mostly bad luck and injuries, he hasn’t entirely pitched to his potential yet in Major League Baseball. Maeda’s contract is fairly cheap, but the Dodgers will be sending along about $10 million in cash to offset some of it as well.

In the big picture, both the Twins and the Dodgers upgraded squads that were already considered contenders for winning the World Series next October. Out of the two, though, the Dodgers made a much bigger splash. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are heading in the opposite direction. They shed payroll with this move, while also making their roster younger. Look for them to continue to try to rebuild their roster by trading away expensive veterans for cheaper, younger players.

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