Thoughts on the Betts Trade & The Pederson Deal That Didn’t Happen

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox
(Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports)

As the dust settles from what felt like a month-long saga that ends with the Dodgers trading for Mookie Betts and David Price, we can maybe, finally, take stock of what has happened in the world of Dodger baseball.

What is clear is that this trade is going to have lasting ramifications all over the baseball world, and not just in Los Angeles. Arguably, the second-best player in baseball was traded from the only team he knew due to “money constraints.” Betts did not want to be traded from Boston, but he did want to test free agency, which as a top tier player who has waited his whole career, is exceptionally within his rights to do. While I won’t get into Boston’s reasons for trading him, there were interviews suggesting that the 27-year-old outfielder is unhappy with the way it all shook out.

As of this writing, the trade is still not official, so we have yet to hear from Betts himself. While he’s going to miss Boston, I have no doubts he will be the consummate professional and not let that hinder his play for the Dodgers. In fact, it might even give him some extra incentive to show the Sox what they are missing. I’m sure the fact that he was traded to a team with an excellent shot at returning to the World Series helps. The Dodgers will also have a full season of wooing him to remain with them in Southern California.

As far as Price is concerned, there is legitimate worry about the veteran’s health and production. The Dodgers are picking up half of his three-year, $96 million contract, so roughly $16 million a season. Last season, he left-hander went 7-5 with a 4.38 ERA over 107.1 innings of work. He had a 4.00 strikeouts to walk ratio and 1.314 WHIP. But the 34 year old has spent his whole career in the American League, most of it in the AL East. A change of coast, league, and time with the Dodgers’ excellent pitching staff could do him a world of good. And, the best news is, he doesn’t need to be the number one or two pitcher on the staff. He can settle in the third or fourth slot with much less pressure. While his overall playoff resume isn’t the best, in the 2018 World Series, when the Sox needed Price to live up to his contract, he did exceedingly well.

The Dodgers ended up getting Brusdar Graterol instead of having the Minnesota Twins trade him to Boston as part of the first proposed three-way trade. The young righty was deemed not a big enough trade piece by the Red Sox, so now he will be with the Dodgers in exchange for Kenta Maeda. It remains to be seen what exactly his role with the team will be, but is he ends up being a key bullpen piece come October, nothing would be better.

As far as the trade that didn’t happen, I can’t help but feel terrible for Joc Pederson. Yes, I understand it’s a business and trades come with the territory. But, being told through the media and twitter that you are going to be traded, and then have the trade ultimately fall through to return to the team that’s trying to trade you has to be incredibly awkward at best, potentially causing some tensions and anger at worst. Ross Stripling for his part seemed delighted at the thought of staying with L.A., composing then quickly deleting a tweet with a gif of him celebrating.

Regardless of how these players feel, though, the Dodgers still need to clear two spots on the 40-man roster for their new, revamped lineup. There are rumors that Pederson could still be on the move, as the Dodgers are still seemingly open to trading him. The Dodgers definitely have a surplus in the outfield, and Joc is probably at the point where he would like to be more than just a platoon player.

What we know now, is that Andrew Friedman was true to his word. There has been some definite roster changes, and they went out and got the best position player available—the best, overall position player not named Mike Trout. Friedman has set this team up to be a true, offensive juggernaut. Cases can be made for improvements in both the starting rotation and the bullpen, and they can be addressed down the line. But this team that was already really good is exceedingly good and heads above the rest of the National League.

The loses of Alex Verdugo and Jeter Downs may hurt down the line. But it’s a hell of an upside at the moment. The Dodgers have two of the top five outfielders in all of baseball roaming out there together. Two of the best five in all of baseball. Friedman somehow acquired Betts and still has the Dodgers top two prospects in place alongside a heavily-stocked farm system. To me, it is worth it. This team is built to win a World Series now. Let’s get the season started.

 

51 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Betts Trade & The Pederson Deal That Didn’t Happen

    1. Verdugo and Maeda removed. Betts, Price, Graterol, Raley added.
      I would guess they’re working very hard to trade Joc quickly. Other candidates for trade or DFA would include Sborz, Tyler White and Garlick.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Watch Boston re-sign Betts after this year. That would be a huge coup for them getting their future SS and a starting OF for losing one year of Mookie.

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  2. I love taking the risk though. This team will be hard to stop offensively and while the rotation has taken some hits I think the bullpen will be much improved with the addition of Blake Trienen and eventually Brusdar Graterol. I hope guys like Alex Wood and Jimmy Nelson can bridge the gap long enough for Dustin May and Josiah Gray to take over. I’m glad if one had to go, it was Verdugo. Nothing against him but I just never really saw him as fit on this team. If he can mature a little bit he can be an all star. For the first time in what seems like a long time the Dodgers finally an elite ELITE leadoff hitter.

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  3. That’s the risk. But we could also win a WS and sign Betts ourselves. I’m sure AF has the finances penciled in with Belly and Buehler coming due if we can afford Betts. How he performs this year will go a long way in making that decision

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    1. One thing for sure, AF will do whatever he can to keep Buehler and Belli while at the same time making sure to have some other big time names on this team. Over the next couple of years Kenley, JT and Kershaw’s contracts will all be up. If any of them come back it will be at substantially lower salaries. In the next 2 off seasons Betts, Lindor, Arenado (opt out), Bryant, Freeman, Rizzo, Syndergaard and Scherzer are just a few of the names that will be available as free agents and AF should have some money to spend. No outfielders in that list Gary so we may have to go out and trade for one if we don’t keep Betts.

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      1. OF free agents in 2021 besides Betts and Pederson, include Springer, Ozuna, Brantley and maybe Puig if he signs for 1 year. Not a lot of rumors on Puig and what he is asking for.

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    1. I’m sure the Dodgers had their choice of a few different minor leaguers. Why would they have Raley included just to dfa him a couple days later? He definitely wouldn’t pass through waivers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you’re comparing apples to oranges here, or in this case Baileys to Raleys.
        Dodgers took Bailey’s contract so the Reds could dump his salary. The Twins weren’t paying Raley anything to speak of so they had no need to get rid of his (almost) nonexistent salary.
        Am I missing something here?

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      2. The guy played exactly 38 games. He used to be a Dodger farm hand and they let him go before. He is no where near MLB ready and does not look like he could beat out Peters for a roster spot. I am pretty sure he is flotsam.

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      1. Who knows? He is no top prospect. Never was. He is AAA fodder at best. You tell me how a player who only played 38 games last year, is valuable to the major league roster. Granted, he hit over .300 at both of his stops last year, but he played in the fall league and was less than exceptional. Just makes little sense to me. All of the other players on the 40 man seem to be of some use. Raley is LH hitter. He hit 19 homers in 2018, and 7 last year. Was he injured? Probably with those kinds of numbers. He also strikes out a lot. I just simply do not see the value of this guy, other than like I said giving them equal value on the Maeda deal…and maybe the Twins just said, take this guy, we need the roster spot, and we will give you a supplemental pick to boot. Who knows what AF was thinking. You look at the projections on Raley and he adds BUPKIS to the mix. So to me, that makes him a definite DFA candidate.

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      2. Raley was Dodgers 27th in top 30 prospects at the end of 2017 and Twins number 19 at the end of 2018. He dislocated a tendon in his ankle requiring surgery early in 2019. Originally taken by Dodgers in round 7, he has been considered a prospect. The Twins still thought enough of his potential to send him to the AFL. While only hitting .244, he was 8th in the league in RBIs. He also has experience at 1B. As you have said something should happen fairly quickly.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It has to. They are over the limit. Maybe AF likes the kid, but then why did they trade him away in the first place??? And he did that stuff at AA. He is still no more than a AAA player right now, and his age is against him too. He turns 26 this year.

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  4. Right now it is simply about roster space and who is the most expendable. Raley played 38 games last year. 33 at AAA. His first AAA experience. They have to cut someone or trade a couple of players for prospects because there is no room on the 40 man roster. You use roster space for players you think can help you during the season. Steamer projects him at 1 HR, 3 ribbies and a .248 average. I don’t think he provides immediate help. Raley was drafted in 2016. He showed some pop at AA Tulsa, but since then he has been pretty pedestrian. He was part of the package LA sent to Minnesota in the Dozier trade in 2018.

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      1. Why would they want a player with marginal skills who was not that great the last couple of years in the minors? Just does not make sense to me, plus they traded him before with no problem. I believe it was simply to get equal value for Maeda and their 10 million samoleons. Now they need to dump 2., No doubt the phone lines are lit up today…oh yeah, there are no lines on a cell phone.

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      2. If they got him to dump him, he had no value. I agree with you that it makes no sense. I think LA still thinks he has value, and their is not great OF talent at AA-AAA level right now. Guess we will see what happens. If they clear the roster spots another way, and Raley is invited to Spring Training we will have our answer.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Radley had ankle surgery, which explains how much he played last year. The Twins then sent him to the AFL, where he did OK and proved himself healed.

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  5. My guess is that they have time because they have a couple of guys who are very marginal on the roster right now. But I also think they need to address Pederson because there are going to be some hard feelings there.

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  6. Your guess is as good as mine Andy. We all know AF acts in mysterious ways. In basketball they make these kinds of deals and 2 days later some one is cut. They want to introduce the new players pretty quickly and have the trades official, so some urgency has to be there.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. He hit .244 in 23 games. He struck out 25% of the time, and had 3 HR’s in 93 at bats. That is pretty pedestrian. Like I said, no better than AAA fodder. Keep him, DFA White, who is totally worthless, and trade someone else for a prospect. Problem solved.

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  8. Yes, they still need to dump 2 guys before making Betts official but I still don’t think it will be Raley. They could have easily taken someone from the Twins who was young enough not to even be on a 40-man roster yet, even if he wasn’t a great prospect. And remember, we’re talking the 40-man, not the 25-man. He can still go to OKC.
    I expect one of the two spaces will be Joc and the other one could come from Tyler White, Sborz, Garlick or even Strip or Kike. They’ll have to do something pretty quickly because I don’t think the trade can be unofficial for much longer.

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      1. Good question Andy. I have no clue.
        I wonder if it’s a definite number of days or a vaguely worded rule of some sort.

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  9. No rule as I have seen, but I am pretty sure once the medicals are okayed, and they and the Sox do not want a repeat of last weeks fiasco, it would have to be real quick once that is done. MLB is tinkering with the idea of expanding the playoffs to 7 teams, and allowing the team with the best record to pick their opponent. Playoffs are long enough as it is, Can’t see adding more teams.

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      1. Well then they had better get busy because the trade was officially announced a little while ago. Roster as of this moment has not been adjusted at all.

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      2. Well, Price and Betts are officially on the 40 man. Verdugo off….Maeda still is showing as on the roster, but that trade was just finalized.

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      3. “As soon as”, in other words “shortly”, a term my late father-in-law used when he had no intention of doing something. He’d say it and we’d all laugh.
        I believe AF is working on a deal to flip Betts so that we can keep Joc.

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  10. After all this trade interruptus going on, it reminds me of my days on the diamond. When you were in the dugout watching the other team self-destruct with stupid play and errors, the call would go out “put a tent over that circus!”. So watching all the missteps and misfires in getting trades completed, it is time for all of these FO to “put a tent over this circus!”.

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  11. Only AF knows what is on the horizon. D-Backs extend Nick Ahmed for 4 years. About 6 mil a year. Price and Betts officially on the roster, Graterol and Raley not yet.

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    1. Ok, that fixes the roster for now. Either could still end up at AAA if not picked up.
      The bigger question is will they still try to trade Pederson For financial flexibility or anyone else before Spring Training? I would like to see Joc stay as 4th OF and protection against Pollock injury or slump. He was terrible in post season!

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      1. I had thought that Joc had grudgingly accepted his platoon role but I saw something the other day which indicated he wasn’t happy with it. That coupled with the fact they tried to trade him and beat him in his arbitration hearing leads me to believe that he will not be a happy camper coming back. They need to trade him.
        Strip, on the other hand, has seemingly accepted his role and indicated he was happy to still be a Dodger.

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      2. Well then this would be a fail by AF. We certainly will have trouble getting value for him and have now lost some OF depth in Garlick. The 40 man is currently out of balance between pitchers and position players in my opinion.

        Bedtime here in the east.

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