Betts, Price traded again: Red Sox do even better on Take 2
(Photo: Jerry Espinoza/MiLB.com)
The deal is done, for real this time. Players have been informed. Medicals approved. Not looking back. Mookie Betts and David Price are indeed headed out of Boston with a revamped deal. While the Twins are still part of the deal, exchanging Brusdar Graterol, it is no longer a true 3-team trade. Instead, the kid with the injury history is headed to the Dodgers, in addition to Betts and Price, and Kenta Maeda is still headed to Minnesota.
Catching prospect Connor Wong is headed to the Boston Red Sox alongside outfielder Alex Verdugo and shortstop Jeter Downs in the trade that will send outfielder Mookie Betts, starter David Price and cash to the Los Angeles Dodgers, sources tell ESPN. Players have been notified.
You can’t make this stuff up. The Red Sox toy with our hearts in a trade of their former MVP. It gets called off. Sox fans who want more Mookie gain some hope. I call the original return solid but I also expected more. The Red Sox got just that, upgrading in the prospect rankings and adding another name—let’s take a look at the amended returns which look even better than the original offer. For a preview of Alex Verdugo, who was and still is part of this deal shipping up to Boston, see my prior evaluation.
Connor Wong: Versatility and Athleticism
If you read my articles, you know by now I don’t let you sleep on anybody. A catcher with professional experience at second base and third base, Connor Wong was the #28 prospect for the deep Dodgers organization. He started college as a shortstop and while he is still working on the craft of catching, he has gifted power with the bat, wheels on his legs, and has above average athletic peripherals. Wong will likely start the year at AA but when rosters expand to 40, a big league promotion is not out of the question in 2020 for a team that can clearly benefit from depth in the infield.
Jeter Downs: legendary name, legendary ceiling
When you trade an MVP and a Cy Young winner, you expect returns that have an equivalent potential. Jeter Downs, along with Verdugo, is exactly that. The #5 prospect in the Dodgers organization, who was named after the recent hall-of-famer, is headed to Boston with expectations through the roof and tools to match.
Downs posted eye-popping numbers in his first season in the pros, popping 13 home runs and stealing 37 bases in Class A at the age of 19. His style at the plate is diverse, hitting to all parts of the field and having sneaky power to left field, fairly reminiscent of a young Xander Bogaerts. Although he is primarily listed as a shortstop, Downs is not only capable of playing second base but he is likely a better fit there anyway. In fact, he spent more playing time in 2018 at second base than he did at shortstop. Did the Red Sox just find themselves a Jeter that can actually defend at their position? I’m just kidding... or maybe not? ;)
While Downs might start 2020 in the minor league system of the Red Sox, he has the ability to showcase his talents quickly enough to start at Fenway Park. Taking over the lofty throne of Boston legend Dustin Pedroia, whose career is in a state of limbo, is a challenge that nobody in the Red Sox organization could realistically imagine—until now. Jeter Downs will join his brother Jerry, a first baseman, in the Red Sox organization and could very well be orchestrating double plays with Xander Bogaerts in 2020 and might be the biggest hidden diamond of this wild baseball offseason.
Red Sox fans should not just be happy with the improved results of the trade of Mookie Betts and David Price, they should feel excited. A farm system that has recently been slim is now bolstering up with talent that could be major league ready very soon. Spring training is right around the corner. The Red Sox might also have their manager of 2020. Now, they may have the second baseman and right fielder of the future. Whether or not the Mookie Betts free agency results in 2021 surprise us, the Red Sox may surprise some folks this year, this season.