Introducing Alex & Brusdar: Evaluating the returns of the Betts and Price trade
(Photo: Yahoo Sports)
The Mookie Betts trade is done. The David Price trade is done. It happens to be the same one. You may be sad. You may be mad. You may be confused. You may feel abused. The fact of the matter is—this was a salary dump and a white flag to the truth that Mookie Betts didn’t want to settle for an extension to stay in Boston beyond 2020. For now, it is still the beginning of 2020 and the Red Sox have new members in a club that “wants to stay competitive this year.” You may be emotional and yes, I know, a lot of you don’t care what the returns are. You’re allowed to be upset, but we’ll break down the return anyway from the trade last night. The least we can do is fairly evaluate the gains.
Alex Verdugo: All-star caliber bat, legendary arm
In 2019, the Dodgers showed off so much major-league-ready talent amongst their prospects that their fans were annoyed by the excess talent that wasn’t playing everyday. The #1 prospect from that organization is now on the Red Sox, a team whose farm system has taken a major league beating on the road to a championship in 2018. While the possibility of Verdugo being the centerpiece of another trade exists, for now, he is ready to wear a jersey that says Boston and complete a trio of three lefty-hitting outfielders for the Red Sox.
97.1 mph from Alex Verdugo =
No chance for Rafael Devers.
In his first full season for one of the best teams in all of baseball, Verdugo hit 12 home runs with a .294/.342/.475 slash line in 106 games. Yet, it’s not even his bat that distinguishes him from the common joes of the outfield. It’s his throwing arm and athleticism that has had scouts in love with his potential since he was selected in the second round of the 2014 MLB draft at the age of 18. With experience playing all three outfield positions, Verdugo has the tools to man one of the toughest outfields in baseball for 81 games. It also wouldn’t be his first rodeo in Boston. Rafael Devers will remember.
It is worthy to note that Verdugo was unable to complete the 2019 season or partake in the playoffs, due to a back injury, but he has his eyes set on Opening Day. Working with the coaching staff will be key to Verdugo making a quick name for himself with Boston, but he has already proven he can handle the spotlight and deal with some pressure—cut it out with the negativity and give the kid a chance.
Brusdar Graterol: Endless possibilities
Don’t try to fool me—I read your comments on our articles, I see the social media banter. Many of you hadn’t heard of this 21-year-old power pitcher until last night. But that’s a personal problem. What some view as the most insignificant part of the blockbuster trade might give the baseball world the biggest eventual shock in recent times.
In his 10 regular starts in 2019, the #3 Twins prospect struck out 10 in 9.2 innings pitched, with a triple-digit fastball, wipeout slider, and a handy changeup. He also pitched a perfect inning with 2 strikeouts in a postseason game against the Yankees in the ALDS. Scouts have viewed him as both a starter and a reliever. As it stands right now, he can very easily test the big league waters as a reliever. With closing potential, Graterol can only be on the rise. The upside is likely closing at an all-star level, the downside is nonexistent. Learn this guy’s name and pray for his health. He may just be the next man who throws out the last pitch of the World Series for the Boston Red Sox.
I’ll be honest. I expected more. For those of you who were expecting the trade, you did too. Frankly, I’m shocked the Dodgers did not end up having to throw in another prospect. But curiosity killed the cat—it’s time to move on one day at a time.
The return is more decent than you think. Yes, it hurts right now. It’ll probably hurt tonight. And tomorrow. I may be crazy to ask you to set emotion aside for a minute, but try it anyway. An asset in the outfield and a power arm with closing and starting upside in exchange for a likely-free-agent wanting Mike Trout money and half a contract asking to be moved may not be flashy, but it's certainly a step towards progress.
Next stop: the manager position. What do you want us to evaluate next? The 2020 Red Sox may be messing with our hearts and I have no choice but to be ready at this point. You better stick with me, let’s do it together.