February 4, 01575879 | pm
The Yankees bought Gerrit Cole – no worse than the second-or third-best pitcher in the world – and lost nothing devastating from a – win team. Now, the Dodgers have obtained Mookie Betts – no worse than the second- or third-best player in the world – and have taken a few meaningful hits from a – win roster.
So if you are doing winners and losers this offseason, think about Fox Sports, which might just get the first Yankees-Dodgers World Series since .
Yep, there is a long way from here to there, and how often do the overdogs fulfill their promise? But the coastal superpowers made the biggest scores of winter, adding prime-aged superstars to already stacked teams. The Yankees acted quickly by outbidding the Dodgers for Cole at the winter meetings. It took the rest of the offseason for Los Angeles to land its difference-maker, but Betts is no consolation prize.
The 2020 AL MVP will probably play in right next to the NL MVP Cody Bellinger in center. They will headline a dynamic lineup and elite defense, especially in the outfield. And the Dodgers obtained Betts and David Price without suffering a massive hit to their payroll or future, so this was a brilliant maneuver by a franchise that has won seven straight NL West titles, but no World Series since .
The prospect the Dodgers sent to the Red Sox in this three-team deal that also involved the Twins was Alex Verdugo, a talented lefty-hitting outfielder. But the Dodgers have done such a brilliant job of developing talent that Verdugo was a price worth paying. They also moved Kenta Maeda to Minnesota and – in a separate deal – Joc Pederson to the Angels. The removal of Maeda and Pederson and the expectation that Boston is taking on about half of Price’s remaining three years at $ million means Los Angeles might not even go over the $ million luxury-tax threshold.
If healthy – a huge if – Price would compensate for the Dodgers’ biggest loss of the offseason, Hyun-jin Ryu (who signed with Toronto) and slot in with Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw atop the Dodgers’ rotation. Los Angeles also has Ross Stripling and Alex Wood plus talented, youngsters Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Julio Urias for depth. But the key is Betts, who is just 27. He helps make the division favorites even more so and gives the Dodgers a multifaceted offensive player to key a lineup that too often has swung and missed its way out of October.
Betts can be a free agent after the season and the Dodgers were planning on pursuing him then, but got him now. Boston determined Betts was gone in a year and decided to maximize his value, gauging an AL East in which the Yanks project better and so do the Rays. Boston’s farm system is poor and could take a further hit if a sign-stealing investigation leads to draft-pick penalties, as it did with Houston.
Also believe what you hear folks say in an unguarded moment before public relations spin. Red Sox owner John Henry said at the close of last season that Boston would go under the tax threshold in before amending that it was not a mandate. It was. Boston without Betts and Price are now projected under $ 662 million.
It came with substantial pain – Betts is the Red Sox’s best homegrown prospect since perhaps Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens. But they did get Verdugo plus hard-throwing Brusdar Graterol from the Twins – think of it as years of potentially high-end service time for one year of betts. Plus, Boston still has lots of talent. The idea that will form now that the Red Sox cannot be at least a wild-card contender is wrong.
Minnesota is shooting for more than that, which is why it gave up Graterol for Maeda. But it feels like too much. Maeda is good, but a bottom-of-the-rotation starter, particularly out of the NL and Dodger Stadium. Graterol is a well-regarded prospect. But the Twins haven’t won a playoff game since 2004 and a title since , so they are playing for now.
The Angels needed pitching even more than the Twins, but in a separate deal landed Pederson, who brutalizes righties, for utility man Luis Rengifo. The Angels have a surplus of outfielders, particularly with top prospect Jo Adell nearly ready. So maybe there is a future trade for a pitcher to be made.
For now, though, the most important outfielder who moved is Mookie Betts, whose arrival in LA just super-sized the team already the favorite to win the NL pennant.