Red Sox Officially Complete Mookie Betts Deal With Dodgers
It is "hard to recall an offseason" that the Red Sox will be "more eager to put in the rearview mirror" than this one, following the completed trade of RF Mookie Betts and P David Price to the Dodgers, according to Christopher Gasper of the BOSTON GLOBE. The Red Sox have "lurched from one organizational/reputational crisis or self-inflicted wound to the next." They have "looked indecisive, unaware, and shambolic." Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom may "come out of this deal with his reputation more unfairly maligned" than anyone. Bloom was "thrust into a bubbling cauldron of crises and agendas in his first month on the job." Gasper: "How can other GMs and colleagues around baseball trust and respect his word if he can be so easily overruled by the internal workings and PR sensitivities of the Sox' organizational hierarchy? Bloom's credibility was collateral damage of Boston upgrading its take for Betts" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/10).
MONEY-DRIVEN DECISION: In Massachusetts, Christopher Smith notes Price will count for $16M -- instead of $31M -- toward the Red Sox' luxury tax number in '20-22. That salary relief "certainly sets the table for the Red Sox to spend money in free agency next offseason." The team's payroll this season "dropped" about $18M below the $208M competitive balance tax by dealing Price and Betts. The Red Sox will have "even more money coming off the books next offseason." By staying under the luxury tax in '20, the Red Sox will "forfeit just one draft pick (instead of two picks) if they sign a qualified free agent" next offseason. They also will "lose $500,000 less in international signing money" (Springfield REPUBLICAN, 2/10).
STILL INCONCEIVABLE: In N.Y., Bradford Davis writes there is "no baseball reason to trade" Betts, and there is "barely a financial reason to trade him." Betts reportedly "wanted to reach free agency rather than sign a contract extension significantly below his value," so the Red Sox "decided to move on with a much worse team" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/10). In Boston, Jason Mastrodonato wrote this trade is "not an easy pill for fans to swallow." Even if it was the "right move," it will take fans "time to sit with the difficult reality of watching their favorite player slip off his Sox uniform and start wearing Dodger blue." But it "wasn't just the fans who seemed undeniably and rightfully upset." The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal said that the team was "facing pressure from ownership who aren't happy with the public reaction to the Betts trade." Mastrodonato wrote this is the kind of "public relations circus that has followed this team for the better part of a decade" (BOSTON HERALD, 2/9).
ORGANIZATIONAL FAILURE: In Minneapolis, Jim Souhan writes the Red Sox front office's "handling of negotiations with the Dodgers and Twins indicates that their organization lacks savvy and guts." The Red Sox "are not operating like a championship organization" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/10). In L.A., Jim Alexander writes he "would not be surprised if a well-placed Red Sox front office person" put the original trade "out as a trial balloon last week, and the fierceness of the reaction from New England and its expatriates was stunning enough for the Sox to determine they needed to ask for more" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/10).
FOLLOWING FORMER BOSS: In Boston, Sean McAdam wrote when Bloom "looks at the Dodgers, he sees a model for what he wants the Sox to become." The Dodgers are "capably run" by President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, who was "Bloom's boss in Tampa Bay for Bloom's first decade with the franchise." Friedman has led the Dodgers to "five straight N.L. West titles, and he has "done so by actually cutting payroll." Friedman also has "done so without saddling his team with long-term obligations" (BOSTONSPORTSJOURNAL.com, 2/8).