Two Good Dodgers Trades are Done, a Bad one is Toast
We have liftoff! If the Red Sox don't monkey-wrench the thing again because of a previously-undetected Alex Verdugo sprained eyelash, that is.
We'll update as things become closer to legitimate clarification, but as is stands now at 5:25 p.m. PT Sunday, the various Dodgers deals shake out this way.
Boston is sending Mookie Betts, David Price and $48 million (to cover half of Price's salary for the next three seasons) to Los Angeles for Verdugo, minor league shortstop Jeter Downs and minor league catcher Connor Wong.
In a separate deal, the Twins are shipping right-hander Brusdar Graterol and former Dodgers' minor league outfielder Luke Raley to L.A. for Kenta Maeda and $10 million.
The trade which was supposed to send Joc Pederson, Ross Stripling and minor leaguer Andy Pages to Anaheim for Luis Rengifo is toast. Burnt toast. Which is truly good news, because it was a salary dump that never should have made it to the bargaining table. If L.A. wants to trade Pederson and/or Strip again, fine, but it had better be for something better than what the Angels had in mind. A lot better. A. Lot.
What's new here is the Dodgers are coughing up 10 million big ones. But as I have said nearly 10 million times, I will gladly pay an extra 50 cents for a Dodger Dog; a buck if they actually cook the thing all the way through.
What's new here is that Los Angeles had to kick in a well-regarded young shortstop in Downs to get Betts. They clearly wanted the elite Red Sox right-fielder, were asked to sweeten the deal after a previously agreed to trade had fallen apart, and pulled the trigger.
The Dodgers have four men at the big league level who can play short -- Corey Seager, Gavin Lux, Kiké Hernandez and Chris Taylor -- and they might extend Seager at any moment. Or they might trade for Francisco Lindor. Or they might wait till the winter of 2021-2022 to sign Lindor as a free agent. Or they might acquire a middle infielder in some other deal. And exactly how many shortstops do you need? You want Betts, you throw infielders to the wind and never look back.
What's new here is that Wong is now a Boston minor leaguer. But the Dodgers have Keibert Ruiz and Diego Cartaya in the organization, fine prospects both. And they have Will Smith. Just how many catchers do you need?
What's new is that Raley returns after being shipped to Minnesota in the 2018 Brian Dozier trade.
What's new, more importantly, is that while the Dodgers part with the well-regarded Downs, they receive the fireballing Graterol (a name that sounds like a PED), who the Sox balked at, blowing up the original three-team deal with Minnesota Friday. And while L.A. has plenty of shortstops, they can always use another good young arm.
Graterol, 21 and a bit beefy at 6-1 and 265, debuted with the Twins last September, appearing in 10 games, throwing 9 2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits, five earned runs, with two walks and 10 strikeouts. 4.66, 1.241.
In five minor leagues seasons beginning in 2015 at age 16, Graterol's numbers roll out this way: 19-6, 2.48, 1.07, 51 games, 41 starts, 214 innings, 212 strikeouts, an opponents batting average of .212 and a save in one opportunity. Last year at three levels? 7-0, 1.92, 0.98, a strikeout per inning and a .179 BAA.
So what amounts to a Graterol-and-Raley-for-Downs trade, you ask? I say why the hell not? Joc and Strip back in the fold at least for the time being? And a guy named Betts? You bettscha. Good, good, good.
And remember, glove conquers all ... including the Red Sox being difficult for no apparent reason.
Howard Cole has been writing about baseball on the internet since Y2K. Follow him on Twitter.