Re2pect: Yankees rub Red Sox face in terrible Mookie Betts trade with latest move

The New York Yankees now have two of the players the Boston Red Sox acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade in 2020.

Nov 7, 2023; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman speaks to the media
Nov 7, 2023; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman speaks to the media / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Boston Red Sox made the tough decision back in 2020 to trade away superstar outfielder Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. While the team couldn't sign Betts to a contract extension, it would be impossible to get a return to match the production he brought to the Red Sox. In a matter of a few years, the Red Sox return from the Betts trade is mostly gone.

Ironically, two pieces of Boston's return now reside with the rival New York Yankees. This offseason, the team acquired outfielder Alex Verdugo from the Red Sox. Now, they added a second piece of the trade on Tuesday.

The Yankees officially acquired infielder Jeter Downs off waivers from the Washington Nationals.

MLB Rumors: Yankees claim former Red Sox infielder Jeter Downs off waivers

An infielder named Jeter? This is fate for the Yankees. Plus, it only adds to the misery of Red Sox fans watching the majority of their return for Betts did not pan out the way they would have hoped. Ironically, this comes one day after the Red Sox hired former Yankees hitting coach Dillon Lawson as their minor league hitting coordinator.

Downs was one of the Dodgers' top prospects in their farm system, so it only made sense for the Red Sox to acquire him in exchange for Betts. The thing is, Downs didn't live up to his potential in Boston.

For most of his tenure with the Red Sox, Downs was playing for their Triple-A affiliate but struggled at the plate. In 2021, Downs recorded a .190 batting average, a .272 on-base percentage, a .333 slugging percentage, 14 home runs, 39 RBI, 39 runs, 68 hits, 131 strikeouts, and 38 walks in 357 at-bats (99 games). In 2022, Downs slashed .197/.316/.412 while recording 16 home runs, 33 RBI, 56 runs, 56 hits, 99 strikeouts, and 38 walks in 284 at-bats.

Downs had a short stint up with the Red Sox in 2022, playing in just 14 games. Downs went 6-for-39 with one home run, four RBI, four runs, 21 strikeouts, and one walk. After the 2022 season, the Red Sox designated the infielder for assignment.

This past season, Downs was in the Nationals' minor league system for most of the year. In 60 games, Downs slashed .222/.363/.356 while recording three home runs, 20 RBI, 32 runs, 40 hits, 57 strikeouts, and 37 walks in 180 at-bats.

Through six games with the Nationals, Downs went two-for-five with one RBI, four runs, one strikeout, and four walks.

The addition of Downs is likely to provide depth for the Yankees. The team has to figure out what to do with Oswald Peraza, who lost the starting shortstop job to Anthony Volpe last spring, while Isaiah Kiner-Falefa is a free agent. It will remain to be seen if Downs sticks with the Yankees after spring training.

Either way, it is kind of funny to see the Yankees have two of the three pieces from the Red Sox's trade return for Betts. So, when does Connor Wong find his way to the Bronx?

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