If the Boston Red Sox indeed listen to trade offers on outfielder Mookie Betts during the offseason, these five teams could attempt to get it done.
With three wins in their last 10 games through Friday, 15 games back in the AL East and five games back of the second Wild Card, the Boston Red Sox are fading from the playoff race. It’s unclear if that will bring big changes looking ahead to 2020, but according the Jon Morosi of MLB.com Boston will listen to trade offers on outfielder Mookie Betts during the offseason.
Betts won American League MVP in 2018, as he won a batting title and posted a .346/.438/.640 slash-line with 32 home runs, 80 RBI and 30 stolen bases. He’s not having quite as fine a season so far this year, with a .281/.389/.491 slash-line through Friday night as he hit his 20th home run of the season and got to 61 RBI with a two-run homer against the Angels. He is still at top-10 player this year among AL position players though, as measured by bWAR (4.5; seventh), and he’s leading the AL in runs scored (106).
Back in March, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported Betts turned down an eight-year, $200 million contract extension from Boston after the 2017 season. The price of poker went up when the Angels gave Mike Trout 10 years and $360 million in new money in March, and Betts shut down extension talks with an eye on becoming a free agent after the 2020 season.
The Red Sox have the highest payroll in baseball while paying Betts “only” $20 million this year, and absent a new deal he’ll be due a nice raise in arbitration come the offseason. A trade would offload a huge future obligation, and allow Boston to restock a farm system that is quite bare. MLB.com ranked the Red Sox farm system 30th in their recent midseason update, or in other words dead last.
Betts is firmly in his prime, headed for his 27th birthday on Oct. 7. So if the Red Sox actually are open to trade offers on their best player, these five teams should enter the mix quite easily.
5. Minnesota Twins
Beyond whatever their end result this year is, as their substantial AL Central lead has evaporated, the Twins lose a lot of their locked in payroll obligations looking to 2020 ($38.58 million) and 2021 ($10.83 million).
The Twins hardly need an outfielder, with Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario looking like the more than capable three going forward. But there a couple of warts, as Buxton can’t seem to stay healthy for long and Rosario has a lot of ups and downs at the plate as he simply looks overmatched at times.
A well-stocked, top-10 farm system puts Minnesota in position to be aggressive on the trade market. A move to get Betts during the offseason is something the long-time previous front office regime would never have even dreamed of, but Derek Falvey and Thad Levine would do well to do some due diligence and swing for the proverbial fences.
Here’s an offer the Twins should consider making for Betts.