With the Major League Baseball trade deadline less than a week away, the trending storyline will be focused on the city of Los Angeles and the Angels’ decision to possibly trade their two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani for a boatload of younger players and hit the reset button.
Assuming the team already gave their sales pitch to Ohtani and it fell on deaf ears, most baseball pundits believe Ohtani may move on this winter with Los Angeles’ only compensation being a draft pick. Teams are banking on the Angels front office to panic, allowing them to take advantage of a desperate team and land a game changing superstar without getting fleeced.
One of the MLBbros fell into this type of situation a few years back.
Mookie Betts was facing the same dilemma in his final year in Boston and instead of gambling on signing him in the offseason, the Red Sox traded Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a blockbuster three-team deal that included the Minnesota Twins.
Los Angeles Dodgers Received:
Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price (Now since retired).
Boston Red Sox Return:
Outfielder Alex Verdugo, catcher Connor Wong, and infielder Jeter Downs (Now since waived).
It is easy to see now that the Dodgers won this trade with the eye test, particularly considering that Betts helped deliver Dodgers Nation a long-awaited World Series championship in 2020.
If a fan wanted to go to the advanced stats, they would find that according to Baseball Reference calculations, Verdugo and Wong combined have a 10.5 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) for Boston. Since Opening Day in 2022, Betts has a 10.9 WAR for Los Angeles. Since our MLBbro has put on Dodgers blue, his WAR nearly doubles Verdugo and Wong with 18.5.
Just look at what Mookie Betts has done over the last 20 games…
- He’s hitting a torrid .373 from the plate
- Sent out eight home runs
- Knocked in 20 runs
- More importantly, he’s stayed healthy and has become the most talented utility player in baseball by moving to second base recently.
Did Boston Bomb On Betts Trade?
The theories on what could have happened will continue without any real answers. But the one part of this story that is not theory comes courtesy of an interview Betts had on the “Foul Territory” online show. Mookie stated that actually he wanted to stay with the Red Sox and would’ve accepted an extension…if they would have offered one.
“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 via MassLive.
“That was my life. I knew everybody there.It was a short flight to Nashville. It was perfect.”
When Betts was asked by Holt if he would have signed a long-term deal for the $365 million he received from the Dodgers or something similar, the former MVP claimed that type of offer…
In all fairness to the Red Sox, the Mookie Betts and Shohei Ohtani situations are different. Betts probably would have stayed in Boston with the long term deal he got from the Dodgers, particularly with the success the Red Sox had up to that point.
Ohtani on the other hand has already made it clear that he wants a taste of postseason success that ends with winning the World Series, something the Angels can’t offer anytime soon.
Even though Mookie had his reservations, he is happy with life and being a Dodger presumably for the rest of his career.
“It is what it is. But when that move happened I was sad,” Betts said. “I was like, ‘Man, I don’t want to go out West.’… It was kind of actually a blessing in disguise. My family loves it. It’s a different way of life. The weather is beautiful. You never have to worry about the hot sticky stuff or the freezing cold and everything up in Boston. Being in LA has been awesome. I’m really happy.”
The Dodgers and their fanbase are happy too. In Betts’ fourth season, he has 27 homers with 67 RBI. LA is in first place in the NL West with a 57-42 record, four games up on the Arizona Diamondbacks.