Sources: Red Sox Trade Betts, Price To Dodgers In Blockbuster Deal
The Red Sox and Dodgers have "agreed to a blockbuster deal that will send" RF Mookie Betts and P David Price to the Dodgers for a "package that includes" OF Alex Verdugo, according to sources cited by Jeff Passan of ESPN.com. Throughout the winter, the Red Sox "entertained offers for Betts, whose free-agent haul" following this season "could exceed" $400M. Betts will make $27M this season (ESPN.com, 2/5). In L.A., Mike DiGiovanna notes the reported trade "would make it more likely that the Dodgers would pay a luxury tax" for exceeding the $208M competitive balance tax threshold for the first time in three years, "unless the Red Sox take on a significant portion of Price's contract." However, that is "not certain" (L.A. TIMES, 2/5). THE ATHLETIC's Ken Rosenthal reported the amount of cash the Dodgers will get from the Red Sox is "not yet known, but the initial estimate of their luxury-tax payroll from RosterResource in the wake of" last night's deals was $222.8M. To stay under the threshold in '20, the Dodgers "would need the Red Sox to cover" $14.8M per season of Price's $32M salary -- "not an unrealistic number" (THEATHLETIC.com, 2/4). In Massachusetts, Christopher Smith estimates the Red Sox' payroll now is at $189.63M (Springfield REPUBLICAN, 2/5).
MONEY MATTERS: In Boston, Alex Speier notes with the departures of both Price and Betts, the Red Sox will "achieve their desired goal of getting below" the luxury tax threshold this season. Still, losing Betts "leaves a huge gap" for the team, as he is a "generational talent and will go down as one of the best players to ever put on a Sox uniform." The team and Betts were "never on the same page when it came to a long-term contract" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/5). USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale notes the move clears $59M in salaries for the Red Sox this season (USA TODAY, 2/5). SI.com's Tom Verducci writes no matter what one is told, "nothing motivated this deal more" than the Red Sox "wanting to reset its luxury tax rate." As "three-time 'offenders," the club was "looking at a progressive tax rate of 50% tax on the overage, up from 20% in the first phase" (SI.com, 2/5).
A FAMILIAR FACE: In Providence, Bill Koch notes Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom "turned to someone with whom he is familiar to execute his first major transaction" in Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, whom he worked alongside for nine years in the Rays organization (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 2/5). The Athletic's Rosenthal said this trade is "going to set the tone" for Bloom's "stewardship of the Red Sox." MLB Network's Harold Reynolds: "This is potentially the biggest trade of his career" ("Hot Stove," MLB Network, 2/4).
ALL IN: In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes with the Dodgers' "competitiveness questioned, their intentions doubted," the team "turned on a fastball of criticism ... to crush the biggest hit of the Guggenheim era" (L.A. TIMES, 2/5). ESPN's Mark Teixeira said this is a "bold move by the Dodgers" because they were "tired of coming up short in October." Teixeira: "Give the front office and ownership credit. They went out and got their guy" ("Get Up," ESPN, 2/5). In California, Jim Alexander writes this is "big, and it is nervy, given that (a) Betts is determined to be a free agent after this season regardless, and (b) the Dodgers made this trade without getting a negotiating window first to see if Betts would be willing to sign an extension" (Riverside PRESS-ENTERPRISE, 2/5). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jared Diamond writes the Dodgers "got significantly better" with last night's trade. They "didn’t need to, but they did anyway, in the name of winning a World Series." The Red Sox "got a lot worse" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/5). USA TODAY's Nightengale writes this deal was a "steal for the Dodgers, really costing them little more than money." Now, it is "Showtime at Chavez Ravine," as the Dodgers are "back to being the kings of the National League" (USA TODAY, 2/5).