Is a Trade with Red Sox Even Plausible?

(AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

For as quiet as the Dodgers have been in the player market so far this offseason, there certainly has not been a shortage of rumors.

It’s no secret that the Red Sox want to slash payroll in an effort to not repeat as a Luxury Tax offender for yet another year. The AAVs of four players alone—Mookie Betts, David Price, J.D. Martinez and Chris Sale—represents more than a combined $112 million for the 2020 season.

The Dodgers have been linked to Betts for quite some time now, and there have been a few recent reports saying that front-office boss Andrew Friedman has spoken to his rival execs in Boston about a potential deal for the outfielder over the last several weeks.

The problem with Betts, as we all know, is that he will become a free agent after the upcoming campaign. That being the case, it’s extremely unlikely the Dodgers offer anything of overwhelming value to the Red Sox in return—at least in terms of something that might spark the interest of the folks in Boston. It’s rumored that the Red Sox really like catcher Will Smith alongside a few other Los Angeles prospects, but an exodus of Smith would leave the Dodgers scrambling for a MLB-ready replacement catcher on the active roster.

Obviously, Boston wants to stay competitive, so the chances of the Red Sox accepting a package consisting of mid-to-lower tier prospects would be slim. While the Dodgers would certainly re-align their outfield to make a home for Betts, the principles simply do not make sense for Friedman, unless he can come away with a steal, which is highly improbable.

In the greater scope of things, at least in the eyes of Friedman, Francisco Lindor and two years of control could theoretically outweigh one year of Betts.

Recently, there have been a number of whispers saying that Los Angeles could be a conceivable landing spot for Price. The 34-year-old lefty still has three years and $96 million remaining on his contract. While it would certainly be a huge help for Boston if somebody else snagged the lefty, it’s not likely to happen even if the Red Sox ate part of the monstrous contract.

Friedman has ties to Price, as he selected the lefty as a No. 1 draft choice for the Rays back in 2007. However, an aging left arm—specifically the elbow—isn’t going to rekindle any past camaraderie. Between his elbow and an injured wrist last year, Price made just 22 starts while producing a 4.28 ERA and a 1.314 WHIP.

We could even compare some of the 2020 peripheral projections of somebody like Ross Stripling to Price, and Stripling would have him beat almost across the entire board. Furthermore, a full season of Dustin May or Tony Gonsolin would probably be a better option. Considering his age and money remaining on his contract, Price doesn’t have much value at all.

According to Baseball Reference, Price is projected to produce a 4.15 ERA with a 1.277 WHIP over 130 innings. Although the innings are significantly less, Stripling is projected to post a 3.80 ERA with a 1.237 WHIP with a lot less mileage on his arm.

Price does have some impressive performances in the postseason—specifically in the 2018 World Series—but there are no guarantees he will ever  approach that kind of effectiveness again.

Nevertheless, that isn’t to say that Friedman couldn’t get creative and put something together similar to the Homer Bailey situation last winter. In that case, the deal turned out to be a bit of a salary dump that made sense for both the Dodgers and the Reds, although Los Angeles surely does not find themselves in a need to make that type of deal right now.

My best guess is that Friedman will make a strong run at Hyun-Jin Ryu regardless of how steady Ryu’s contract value continues to increase as the offseason progresses. Whether Ryu lands back in Los Angeles or not, there’s always the 2020 summer trade deadline to make roster adjustments—if they’re even needed.

The Los Angeles bullpen, though, may be an entirely different issue.


49 thoughts on “Is a Trade with Red Sox Even Plausible?

  1. While Betts would certainly be a big splash type of trade, and add RH power to the team, I just do not see why AF would give up much for a 1 year rental who has repeatedly stated he is going to test the FA waters next year. And I for one, would not offer my best prospects, and my number 1 catcher at this point for a rental. Ruiz has a lot of upside, that is true. But he has only played a handful of games at AAA. The Dodgers could give them some MLB ready players that do not have long contracts and still help Boston reduce payroll. But another salary dump deal like they made when they got Gonzo, makes not sense for a team loaded with talent. As for Price, why take the risk? He has not been the same pitcher for a while now. If we got the guy that shut down the Dodgers during the 18 series, maybe. But 32 mil a year for the next 3 years? The man is past his prime. And while AF works on the deal, more and more options are coming off of the boards. Old friend Matt Kemp signed a minor league deal with the Marlins yesterday. So I guess DM does not hold grudges. Matt was supposed to be a cancer in the clubhouse when Donnie Baseball was the manager. Now he is playing for him again. Tanner Roarke off the boards. Signs with the Jays.

    1. Even though Betts is a top player, Boston wants out from that salary. And with only one year of control, he should come at a reasonable cost. Just taking on his projected salary of $27 million is worth a lot, so maybe a couple of low to mid-level prospects plus a Joc Pederson (or Verdugo) could land Betts in LA and get Boston under the CBT. Who else in MLB could take on $27 million now? Not the Cubs, Yankees, Nationals, Angels…maybe the Mets? White Sox? I suppose San Francisco could, if they were closer to contending, but I don’t see them stepping up now.
      Think about how the Dodgers have positioned themselves. Being patient and watching all the top names in free agency sign, has left them standing around with money to spend (and prospects to trade) when everyone else has spent their money and gone home. Few, if any, big spenders have a penny of payroll to spend now and if you’re Boston, who can afford to pick up Betts without them eating most of his salary which doesn’t help your payroll and tax situation? I’m sure Boston’s new GM didn’t take the job to just sit there and do nothing all off season – he needs to make a move since they have publicly said they need to get payroll down (below the CBT) . Where does Boston go? Who else can afford to take on a salary like Betts? Boston has no leverage to land a strong return from anyone for Betts – or did I miss something?

      1. They want to dump Price more than they do Betts. Price has a 32 million dollar a year price tag for the next 3 years. Dodgers would be taking on close to 60 million in salary if they were packaged, and no way they can do that and be under the tax unless Boston paid part of Price’s contract. Boston can wait until mod season and trade Betts. And still get prospects for him. They are no where near a deal, and have not mentioned any names. But the Boston writers keep saying they should not do the deal unless they get Lux or Smith. Not happening.

  2. The Tigers signed some guy named Ching Chiang, Now what the Dodgers could do with a guy like that. Chin Chiang the witch is dead!

  3. Puzzling comment from the Mad Bum on why he signed with the D-Backs. He said he wants to win and they were the best choice. Hmm….seems to me, they have not won anything in quite a while…….and now he is pitching in a launching pad.

    1. Maybe he thinks they’re due. Projections don’t think so.

      He is the Snot Rocket. He isn’t known for his cerebral prowess.

  4. I for the life of me cannot understand why some fans are so down on Seager. They act like he was the sole reason the Dodgers lost to DC. How about a little common sense. They were out pitched. Most of the team went into a tailspin at exactly the wrong time. Belli, Seager, Pollock, all had terrible series. The bullpen flamed out at exactly the wrong moments. Roberts made some real boners as a manager, and DC was clutch every time they needed to be. Blaming one player is really moronic.

    1. I don’t know if the fans are “down” on Seager, but they may have read what I did at the end of the season that he hasn’t been listening to the hitting coaches and takes a lot more swings and misses than he had in the past. They apparently haven’t been pleased with him. He seemed to have lost his patience at the plate. Thus the Dodgers are open to trading him. If you get Lindor, trade Sager and restock the farm system with a couple or prospects.

  5. Hey Bear I don’t always agree with your posts but you are so right on in this post.
    The Red Sox want Will Smith for Betts I would do in between a heartbeat. Sorry to say I think the league got Smith’s # the latter part of the season and certainly in the playoffs and he is going to be a disappointment in 2020 hope I’m wrong but this is one mans opinion. Again bullpen,bullpen,bullpen
    And YES leave Seager alone!!!!!!!!!

    1. Larry, sorry you misunderstood. I am not trading Smith. He is their #1 catcher. They trade him then they have to go out and find someone good enough to hold down the fort until Ruiz is ready. I disagree Smith will be a disappointment. I do not think he will slash like he did last year, but he is a much better option than Barnes. And Ruiz was injured in the latter part of the season, and barely got any time in AAA. I think the league adjusted to Smith, and he did not really have the tools at the time to recover from it. But remember this, Smith came within () this much of hitting a walk off homer in game 5. Which they would have won save Kershaw giving up the tying homers and Roberts trying to eek 2 innings out of Kelly. O’Dowd suggested this package on MLB> Red Sox get, Pollock, Stripling, Santana, Sheffield, and Kendall. Dodgers get Betts and Price. I make that deal in a heartbeat.

  6. Seager looked frail last year. Hopefully with a full winter to workout and healthy he can comeback stronger next year. I’m with you bear, I’m all in on Seager next year. I think he has a huge co meback year!

  7. Dan O’Dowd, former Rockies GM, who spends a lot of time on MLB tv these days, just came up with this trade suggestion:
    To the Dodgers: Betts, Price, possible cash considerations
    To the Sox: Pollock, Stripling, Santana, Sheffield, Kendall
    I do that deal every day and twice on Sundays. Betts eliminates the need for Pollock, Price eliminates the need for Strip. Santana and Sheffield haven’t progressed as fast as hoped and Kendall is almost a total washout. These are all guys I could live without, even if Price was a complete flameout, and we still get Betts for a year and hopefully longer.
    I’m sure somebody out there disagrees with me. What say you?

    1. I think the Sox can live without them too. But, taking Price off their hands is something very few teams would do, even for one year of Betts. But Friedman? Yeah, I can see him doing that.

      1. I think it all comes down to how badly the Sox want to reduce payroll. When I first looked at the players involved I thought “no way Boston ever does this” but I really don’t know how badly they want to dump Price’s contract. If AF is actually considering bringing back Ryu he might be waiting to see if he gets Price. If so, he’d better not wait much longer because I’m guessing Ryu signs by this weekend.

      1. I think that if they were OK with taking Price, they would go over the CBT if they had to. It would just be for one year. On the other hand, Joc is about 8.5 mil so trading him plus a couple of other small moves could do it. And do we have any definitive statement that they absolutely have to stay under?

    2. Do not die of shock, but I do that deal yesterday. I noted that deal somewhere already because I saw that posted on twitter.

  8. They can go over a little and not pay a huge tax. Boston is on the hook for a 13.8 million tax payback this year.

  9. I hope that AF isn’t dumb enough to spend money and talent on our strength (position players) and not spend money on our weakness (pitching). I don’t actually see him doing any big moves for the quality FAs, he will stay buried digging in trashcans in the alleys of the MLB. What a shame.

      1. Wow, sounds like the head Schlemming is abandoning ship! Me, I sign Ryu and Terhan. Gives you two more pretty decent starters. Get another back end of the pen reliever and trade a package to the Cubs for Bryant, A known commodity and no stranger to the NL. Donaldson is going to cost plenty o money. They have a better shot at keeping Bryant. Trade Joc and Kike or Taylor if you have to, keep the upper tier talent like May and Gonsolin, they can afford to send Sheffield and Santana and others of that ilk else where. I am not trading Lux, Smith, or Ruiz.

      2. I have very mixed feelings on a guy like Teheran. We have enough guys to eat innings between Stripling, Gonsolin, May and Urias. I don’t think Teheran is worth it unless we think we can make him into a better pitcher. He’s basically an innings eater at this point. Taijuan Walker is another possibility if he’s fully recovered.
        Would you get Bryant to use at third or in left field?
        I’m still lobbying for Will Harris as a bullpen addition.

      3. Yeah, I would use Bryant where ever. I also like Walker. He has some nasty stuff when healthy. Harris would be a decent pickup also. But AF needs to get off of the schneid. The longer he waits, the less options he has.

      4. Ah, let;s see, how about not spending money on position players and spend money on pitchers, oh wait, most of the decent pitchers are already signed and unavailable now. There you go Jeff the Genius. Once the barndoor is closed it’s hard to corral the animals after the fact. AF talked shit about how he was going to improve things, I didn’t make him say it, he volunteered it, then he proceeds to actually not do anything he stated he would be doing, well actually he made comments that he was comfortable going into the season with what he had.If you want to be an asshole, take it up with Friedman.

      5. Man, maybe you want to calm down and start the day over. I was really interested in your opinion. What made you think I was attacking you? Not that you’re in the slightest interested in my opinion but the way I saw it was that AF announced he was going after high end assets this winter. He didn’t promise he would be able to get them, and it seems obvious from what I’ve read that neither Cole nor Strasburg had any interest whatsoever in coming here. In the future I won’t bother to engage you in conversation since apparently you think every comment made toward you is a personal attack.

  10. At this point the best option is to just give Ryu the 4 years $80 million he’s seeking so you know you have a stable veteran arm to anchor the middle of the rotation and be a bridge from Kershaw and Buehler to your young arms at the back of the rotation in Urias and May. Kenta should be given every chance to be the #4 starter first with Urias, May and Stripling battling for the 5th spot.”. I would then go ahead and sign Rich Hill to a 1 year $5-7 million deal as insurance for the second half of the season in hopes he can give you 10-12 solid starts down the stretch when everyone is wearing down. Worst case he never sees the mound and you are only out of a little money.

    1. Agree. We need the bridge from WB/CK to the young guys. Pay the man!
      Do you really think it will take that much to sign Hill? He thinks he’ll be back June/July but there isn’t any guarantee. Maybe he’d go for a low (1-2 mil) contract with a bunch of built in incentives.

      1. You really want Hill in there to clog things up again? He might be cheap, and he is good when healthy, but at 40, with the kind of talent they have in the wings, I do not block those kids.

      2. Hill has been injured so often that he’s a 40 year old with a 30 year old arm. Sure, I’d give him 1-2 mil with incentives but 5 or 6 mil is too much.

      3. ahh.,…….you area Hillophite. I do not trust him to stay healthy for half a year….I am not doing it

  11. Here is a real out of the box idea. What about King Felix? Probably could get him to sign an incentive laden deal, If he can recover some of that magic of his, he would be a really good addition. Change of scenery might do him good.

      1. I think a minor league deal is all King Felix will get. Maybe someone will catch lightening in a bottle. I said Hill was a 40 year old with a 30 year old arm. Felix is a 34 year old with a 44 year old arm.

      2. Would still be an awesome presence for the kids in a minor league clubhouse, regardless of the number of innings he’d throw. Give him the satisfaction of not walking away wondering about what could have been. Receive both a great professional and a role model for the youngsters in the process.

      3. He might agree to that. He is not garnering a lot of interest at this point in time. A lot of the free agent starters are ranked above him for obvious reasons. Right now it seems that the Red Sox are not in too big of a hurry to trade Betts, and are more interested in moving Price. That deal, I do not make on it’s own.

  12. Sign Ryu, and Betances, then make a trade in July to fix whatever isn’t working.
    I think the fact that everyone of us would do O’Dowd’s deal, means the bosox probably wouldn’t do it.
    Don’t worry captain shlemming I haven’t abandoned ship yet, there are still at least two of us left.

  13. Teheran is the perfect fit for the Dodgers. 165 innings of 4.+ 0-2 in the playoffs with a 10.5 ERA. I haven’t heard his name before but that’s the kind of guy Friedman likes. I wonder why the Braves would buy him out?

    From the write up about the ODowd trade – the bottom line is Boston won’t do that trade.

    Hernandez. Look at his stat page at BR. It shows exactly why you must be cautious with extending older pitchers. He was a stud in his 20’s. He was done by 31.

    Ryu projects 159 innings of 3.0. 11 wins. (better than Price) That’s for his age 33 year. What does Friedman’s crystal ball tell him about years 34-36? If by some miracle he could do that for 4 years, what is it worth? My ball tells me the Angels will offer more.

    Rich Hill? No thanks. The longer this goes the more I’m ok with just waiting. We currently have a full roster of playoff caliber players. Verdugo’s back does concern me, but he says he will be ready. If he is, he leads off. The rest of the lineup, with Lux at second, looks like a run scoring machine to me. Buehler, Kershaw, Maeda, Urias, May, Stripling is a solid rotation, Gonsolin takes Yimi’s spot, or starts, not sure, Kelly, Treinen, Jansen, Baez, Kolorek, Ferguson….. the rest of the pen, though iffy, will work itself out as the Dodgers have a stable of what the Dodgers always have – strong, capable arms. We WILL make a deadline move for the exact piece we need and we can do this because we didn’t do something stupid in December.

  14. Alex Speier sent out a Tweet last night contradicting Bob Nightengale’s report, saying that the Dodgers and Red Sox had no conversations about Betts at this year’s Winter Meetings. Maybe Nightengale thinks that Farhan and Alex Anthropology still work for Friedman or something.

    1. Mr. Nightengale once again adding to his already sterling reputation. Of course, nothing says they couldn’t have had conversations after the meetings.

      1. Amen Jeff.

        Seriously, Nightengale is the worst. He’s barely above the level of DodgersNation or that blue site.

  15. I believe every GM is on the phone. It’s what they do. I am quite certain the Red Sox and Dodgers have had conversations. It would be naive to believe otherwise.

  16. Some of you were thinking about adding Teheran yesterday, others weren’t so thrilled with that idea. In any case, it’s no longer an option. He’s signing a one-year deal with the Angels. No $ value announced yet. Although I wasn’t thrilled with us signing him I think it makes sense for the Angels whose rotation is in much worse shape than ours.
    Maikel Franco signing a one-year deal with the Royals.
    Ryu still out there. Say it Alex!

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