Major League Baseball’s trade deadline is now a week away, and the focus remains on whether or not the Los Angeles Angels will trade two-way star Shohei Ohtani. The situation is straightforward: the Angels are unlikely to make the postseason, and even more unlikely to retain Ohtani this winter, when he qualifies for free agency. The Angels, then, can trade Ohtani for a collection of younger players at the deadline, or allow him to walk this winter, at which point they’ll be compensated in the form of a draft pick.
This is a good time to remember that trading a star for a package of players isn’t a surefire way to come out ahead. Consider how the Mookie Betts trade has fared for the Boston Red Sox.
For those who’ve forgotten, the Red Sox traded Betts (and since-retired pitcher David Price) ahead of his walk year as part of a three-team swap with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins that fetched Boston outfielder Alex Verdugo, catcher Connor Wong, and infield prospect Jeter Downs. While Downs has since been lost on waivers after failing to make any impact with the Red Sox organization, Verdugo and Wong have combined for 10.5 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference’s calculations. Betts, meanwhile, has notched 10.9 WAR since Opening Day 2022, as well as 18.5 overall with the Dodgers.
There’s no way of knowing if the Red Sox would have been better off letting Betts walk and recouping a draft pick. What we do know, courtesy of an interview Betts did this week with the “Foul Territory” online show, is that he wanted to stay with the Red Sox — and would’ve accepted an extension.
“Even though I wasn’t really ready for (the trade to the Dodgers) — I know people don’t believe me but I wanted to stay in Boston my whole career,” Betts told former teammate Brock Holt during his appearance, according to MassLive. “That was my life. I knew everybody there. it was a short flight to Nashville. It was perfect.”
Holt asked Betts if he would’ve signed a long-term deal with the Red Sox for $365 million — or, the same amount he agreed to as part of a 12-year contract with the Dodgers. Betts answered in the affirmative, but reiterated that offer “didn’t happen.”
Of course, there are only so many parallels to be found between the Betts and Ohtani situations. Different players have different priorities and motivations. Betts may have only wanted his market value to remain in town; Ohtani, conversely, has expressed his desire time and again to win a World Series. He’s certain to draw interest from all the league’s high rollers, and it seems likely that he’ll deem some of them to have better chances of winning a World Series than the Angels — the same franchise who has failed to reach the postseason with him in tow.
Read full post on CBSSports.com Headlines