Breaking Down The Lackluster Mookie Betts Trade

Breaking Down The Lackluster Mookie Betts Trade

by February 5, 2020 0 comments

Well, it finally happened. The Boston Red Sox just shipped out the second-best player in the MLB, but nobody saw this return… or lack thereof.

The official trade details are as follows:

Dodgers receive: Mookie Betts, David Price, and close to $50 million towards Price’s deal

Red Sox Receive: Alex Verdugo, Brusdar Graterol

Twins Receive: Kenta Maeda

This definitely was not the return that was swirling over the last two weeks. While Verdugo was always considered to be the highlight of the package deal, the Red Sox struck out on getting prospects Jeter Downs or even Josiah Gray. Let’s take a deeper look at what the Sox did gain after the aftermath of all of this.

Alex Verdugo is under team control until 2025. With his prime surely on the way, the Red Sox did get a good one with this guy. MLB pipeline had this to say about him back in 2018 before his call up to the big leagues.

“One of the best pure hitting prospects in baseball, Verdugo recognizes pitches and controls the strike zone better than most players his age. He uses the whole field, repeatedly barreling balls with a quick left-handed stroke geared for line drives. Though he homered just seven times in 132 games last season, his hitting ability, bat speed, and strength should translate into average power if he adds some loft to his swing.

As good as he is in the batter’s box, Verdugo’s best tool actually is his plus-plus arm. Despite average speed, he has spent much of his pro career in center field, where his instincts help him get the job done. Scouts are split on whether he can handle center on a daily basis in the Majors, but no one doubts that his arm would play in right.”

He will help keep the reputation for best defensive outfield in the majors still intact, but he is certainly not to the caliber of Mookie Betts. Period. He will be a solid player to build on, but time will tell to see how he fits in Boston’s lineup.

Brusdar Graterol is almost completely unknown in the majors thus far. He will still need some time in Triple-A before receiving a full-time slot in the majors. He is projected to be a mid-rotation starter or a great setup man/closer in the coming years. Due to only 11 appearances for the Twins in 2019, he is under team control until 2026.

In 2019, Graterol spent most of 2019 in Double-A, where he posted a 1.71 ERA, a 6-0 record and a 1.006 WHIP in 12 appearances, nine of which were starts. He struck out 50 batters — and walked 21 — over 52.2 innings. In a limited sample at Triple-A, though, the results weren’t quite the same. He pitched four times for Rochester, compiling a 5.06 ERA and 1.125 WHIP, striking out seven batters in 5.1 innings.

Here’s his scouting report by MLB pipeline:

“Graterol’s stuff continues to get better the more he matures and the further removed from [2016 Tommy John] surgery he gets. His fastball touches triple digits and will often sit in the 96-98 mph range, with an ability to maintain velocity deep into starts. Throwing with plenty of sink, Graterol misses bats and gets a ton of ground-ball outs off of his fastball. When he committed to throw the harder version of his slider, in the 87-89 mph range, it trended toward plus, but he would back off of it at times. Continued separation between that and his slower curve will help, as will further refinement of his changeup.”

He also is noted to have the fasted pitch in Minnesota Twins history at 101.9 mph.

While both players can be solid, this return is simply not up to par with a Mookie Betts trade, let alone David Price as a salary dump, while also agreeing to eat almost $50 million. It will be apparently clear that the fan base is outraged, to top off the almost 10 percent hike in ticket prices soon to come this season. And all to get the payroll down from $220 million to $179 million.

John Henry and the rest of Red Sox brass simply handled this situation poorly.

Boston will miss you, Mookie. Best of luck in Los Angeles.

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