Dodgers, Red Sox fi­nally fin­ish deal for Betts, Price

Antelope Valley Press - - SPORTS - By JIMMY GOLEN

FORT MY­ERS, Fla. — Mookie Betts and David Price are Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Bos­ton Red Sox are tax dodgers.

Bos­ton and Los Angeles fi­nal­ized the on-again, off-again deal that will send the AL MVP and AL Cy Young win­ner to the West Coast on Mon­day night — just hours be­fore the Red Sox are sched­uled to open spring training.

The Dodgers hope the play­ers will be the miss­ing pieces af­ter seven straight divi­sion cham­pi­onships all ended short of their first World Series ti­tle since 1988. The Red Sox have al­ready achieved their big­gest goal of the off­sea­son: Ditch­ing more than $70 mil­lion in salary to get un­der base­ball’s col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing tax thresh­old for 2020.

“Our mis­sion, our charge as a de­part­ment is to com­pete con­sis­tently year-in and yearout, and to put our­selves in po­si­tion to win as many cham­pi­onships as we can,” Red Sox chief base­ball of­fi­cer Chaim Bloom said. “That’s be­hind ev­ery­thing that we do. And we can only ac­com­plish that goal with a talent base at all lev­els of the org that is deep, broad and sus­tain­able.”

The Red Sox will re­ceive out­fielder Alex Ver­dugo and two prospects: in­fielder Jeter Downs and catcher Con­nor Wong. Ac­cord­ing to a per­son with knowl­edge of the deal, Bos­ton will send cash to the Dodgers, re­port­edly half of the $96 mil­lion owed for the next three sea­sons.

The per­son spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause the fi­nan­cial terms were not pub­lic.

In five full ma­jor league sea­sons, the 27-year-old Betts has re­ceived MVP votes five times, fin­ish­ing as run­ner-up once and win­ning the AL honor in 2018; he is a four­time Gold Glove win­ner. But he will earn $27 mil­lion this sea­son, the last be­fore he is el­i­gi­ble for free agency, and he has al­ready turned down a nine-fig­ure ex­ten­sion.

“With Mookie, there was never a point where we were push­ing him out there, shop­ping. We had to be open to all op­tions,” Bloom said at the team’s spring training com­plex. “Once it was clear that the Dodgers in par­tic­u­lar were going to be very ag­gres­sive, it made sense to en­gage.”

Price, 34, is a two-time Cy Young run­ner-up and 2012 win­ner. He was also the run­ner-up for the World Series MVP when the Red Sox beat the Dodgers in 2018 af­ter their fran­chise-record 108 reg­u­lar-sea­son vic­to­ries.

But he made just 22 starts last sea­son — just two af­ter July 30 — with wrist in­juries. By shed­ding his salary along with Betts’, the Red Sox have dipped be­low the $208 mil­lion thresh­old that al­lows them to avoid pay­ing base­ball’s col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing tax this year and low­ers the rate if they go over it in 2021.

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