Bos­ton agrees to trade Betts, Price to Dodgers

Antelope Valley Press - - SPORTS - By JIMMY GOLEN

BOS­TON — The Red Sox have agreed to trade 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts to the Los An­ge­les Dodgers, pack­ag­ing the star out­fielder with left­hander David Price in a salary dump that is ex­pected to save Bos­ton tens of mil­lions of dol­lars, ac­cord­ing to two peo­ple with knowl­edge of the deal.

The peo­ple spoke to The

As­so­ci­ated Press on con­di­tion of anonymity Tues­day night be­cause the trade had not been an­nounced.

The Dodgers are send­ing out­fielder Alex Ver­dugo back to the Red Sox. The deal also in­volves the Min­nesota Twins, who are get­ting righthande­r Kenta Maeda from the Dodgers and send­ing pitch­ing prospect Brus­dar Graterol to Bos­ton.

Los An­ge­les will also get cash from Bos­ton to off­set some of the $123 mil­lion owed to Betts and Price, but the ex­act amount was not yet known.

Un­able to sign Betts to a long-term deal, Bos­ton de­cided to move him now rather than let the four-time All-Star leave as a free agent af­ter the 2020 sea­son. He will earn $27 mil­lion this sea­son and has ex­pressed ea­ger­ness to test the mar­ket.

The deal comes a cen­tury af­ter Bos­ton in­fa­mously sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yan­kees.

One of base­ball’s best al­laround tal­ents, the pop­u­lar Betts should fit nicely into a Dodgers lineup that also in­cludes reign­ing NL MVP Cody Bellinger. Los An­ge­les has won seven straight NL West ti­tles but hasn’t cel­e­brated a World Se­ries cham­pi­onship since 1988. The Dodgers lost to Betts and the Red Sox in the 2018 Fall Clas­sic, a year af­ter be­ing de­feated by the Hous­ton Astros in seven games.

Price is due $96 mil­lion over the fi­nal three years of a $217 mil­lion, seven-year deal he signed be­fore the 2016 sea­son. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award win­ner missed time last year with a wrist is­sue and went 7-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 22 starts.

The Dodgers fi­nally pulled off the kind of splashy off­sea­son deal that has eluded them in re­cent years. They lost out on two pri­mary off­sea­son pur­suits when pitcher Ger­rit Cole signed with the New York Yan­kees for $324 mil­lion over nine years and third base­man An­thony Ren­don signed a $245 mil­lion, seven-year con­tract with the ri­val An­gels.

Un­til now, the Dodgers’ top ad­di­tion this win­ter was re­liever Blake Treinen.

Adding Betts’ bat to a lineup that in­cludes Bellinger, Justin Turner, Max Muncy and Corey Sea­ger makes the Dodgers even more fear­some. Their of­fense led the Na­tional League with 886 runs and 279 home runs last year.

Ver­dugo, a left-handed hit­ter, bat­ted .294 with 44 RBIs and 12 home runs in 106 games be­fore a back in­jury in Au­gust ended his sea­son early. His out­field de­fense is av­er­age, but at 23 he has time to im­prove.

Betts’ de­par­ture deep­ens the dis­ap­point­ment in Bos­ton, where the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots sat out the Su­per

Bowl for the first time in four years and face the prospect of quar­ter­back Tom Brady leav­ing as a free agent. The Red Sox are now with­out the best player, the top ex­ec­u­tive and the man­ager who led them to a fran­chise-record 108 wins and the World Se­ries cham­pi­onship a year ago.

The deal makes sense only in the com­pli­cated eco­nom­ics of base­ball’s col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing tax, which pe­nal­izes a team for spend­ing over a pre­set limit — $208 mil­lion for 2020. What’s more, a ball­club that sur­passes the thresh­old in three straight years pays a top rate of 95%; on the other hand, if a team goes un­der the limit for a sea­son, the penalty for their next vi­o­la­tion re­sets to the low­est rate of 20%.

This deal is ex­pected to get Bos­ton be­low that thresh­old.

Owner John Henry said in Septem­ber, af­ter the team missed the play­offs for the first time since 2015, that the Red Sox “need to be un­der the CBT.”

As­so­ci­ated Press

DEALT In this 2019 file photo, Bos­ton Red Sox’s Mookie Betts smiles as he crosses home plate on his solo home run off Oak­land Ath­let­ics start­ing pitcher Aaron Brooks in the first in­ning of a base­ball game at Fen­way Park in Bos­ton.

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