The Mookie Betts salary dump

First & foremost, Red Sox fans need to realize this is a salary dump coming, which they aren’t used to, but is necessary. Ownership has mandated the new GM get under the Competitive Balance Threshold (CBT). The projected CBT in 2020 MLB is estimated to be just under $228M by Cot’s Contracts. Right now the Boston Red Sox have $236M allocated for 2020. Once players report to camp, the payroll checks start going out, so the Sox need to dump soon.

Here’s another rule in MLB trading. When you dump something, the other side gets to do the same. There’s no way Los Angeles Dodgers GM Andrew Friedman gives up young OF Alex Verdugo for one season of Mookie Betts at $27 million. If the Red Sox eat contract to sweeten the deal, then they defeat the purpose of the dump. The other top Dodgers prospects are too steep a price too, so it’s second tier prospects and no MLB players in return concerning any possible deal for Betts to LA. I don’t see it happening.

Zero interest in LHP David Price by the Padres, Dodgers (and everyone else), since it was reported he has calcifications in his left elbow around his Tommy John ligament. Red Sox will eat all the $96 million remaining on that deal, as well as the rest of their overpaid veterans– Sale, Eovaldi & Pedroia. GM’s would have to be talking Devers or Bogaerts to get significant prospect value in return, so no way, right?

This is about the Red Sox taking Padres 1B/OF Wil Myers and doing something with him. Myers could be worth something, but he needs a change of scenery and the discipline of a winning organization like the Red Sox. I say (as a fan) it’s a perfect fit. It’s the only way the Red Sox can get at the Padres young talent, and it’ll be nothing close to their best. That’s what happens when you put yourself in a jam by spending too much, year after year. Eventually you have to take your medicine, and the Padres are there as the only real suitors– I believe.

This burns Red Sox Nation who have hated on the lowly San Diego Padres since “undisclosed anti-inflammatories” in 2016. Ironically, Drew Pomeranz is now back with the Padres– as a reliever. The Red Sox need to get creative with Wil Myers, and find ways to extract value since they’re gonna be stuck with him, the same way the Padres have done/are doing with Pomeranz & so many others.

It sucks for fans when their franchise has to dump their best player one season before free agency. It used to be only the Marlins did stuff like that, but times have caught up to everybody. Give Padres GM AJ Preller credit for being ready to deal when the Red Sox were most desperate. Preller’s got the best available young talent and the deepest pool, so everybody wants to make a deal with him. That’s what ultimately gets this done, I say.

The Dodgers rumors & scenarios are to create a stalking horse in order to gain the Red Sox leverage in negotiations. Padres fans & management have seen this familiar media game, and understand they have to deal with big-time east coast bias here. Those are all the factors in play. I outlined much of this back in December.

This piece was published as the Mookie Betts trade rumors have reached a fever pitch, so we’ll see what happens in the coming days. Most in the industry now feel it is inevitable, because Red Sox ownership has put a gun to their new GM’s head, and this has to be done for a better franchise future. If it’s “no deal” then it was the Wil Myers’ money (and thus his valuation) which was the sticking point.

Apparently at this point, the Red Sox are willing to take on $30M of Myers remaining $68M owed, with only $4M/year counting against the all-important CBT, due to his average annual contract value of $13.8M. The Padres are pushing towards $45M, which means the Red Sox would pay $15M per year on Myers, with only $9M per counting against the CBT for the next 3 years. That’s what the Red Sox have to take on, to get prospects & young talent, for one season of Mookie Betts at $27M. This is a fascinating baseball deal going down, or at least being seriously discussed.