The Yankees bought Gerrit Cole – no worse than the second or third best pitcher in the world – and lost nothing that was devastating from a team with 103 wins. Now the Dodgers have received Mookie Betts – no worse than the second or third best player in the world – and have received few meaningful hits from a list of 106 wins.
So if you're winners and losers this off-season, think of Fox Sports, which may be hosting the first Yankees-Dodgers World Series since 1981.
Yes, it's a long way from here to there, and how often do the overdogs keep their promise? But the coastal superpowers scored the most points in winter, adding top-of-the-line superstars to teams already stacked up. The Yankees acted quickly by outbidding the Dodgers for Cole at the winter gatherings. It took the rest of the postseason for Los Angeles to find its opponent, but Betts isn't a consolation prize.
The 2018 AL MVP will likely play right next to the 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger in the middle. You will lead a dynamic lineup and elite defense, especially in the field. And the Dodgers received Betts and David Price, without their payroll or their future suffering massively. It was a brilliant maneuver for a franchise company that has won seven NL West titles but no World Series since 1988.
The prospect that the Dodgers sent to Red Sox in this three-team deal, in which the twins also participated, was Alex Verdugo, a talented left-back. But the Dodgers did such a brilliant job that Verdugo was worth the price. They also moved Kenta Maeda to Minnesota and – in a separate deal – Joc Pederson to the angels. The distance between Maeda and Pederson and the expectation that Boston will take over about half of Price's remaining $ 96 million with Price means that Los Angeles may not even cross the $ 208 million threshold for luxury taxes.
If he were healthy – a big if – the price would make up for the biggest loss of the Dodgers in the off-season, Hyun-jin Ryu (who signed with Toronto) and with Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw at the top of the Dodgers. Los Angeles also has Ross Stripling and Alex Wood as well as talented youngsters Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Julio Urias for Depth. But the key is Betts, who is just 27 years old. He helps make the division even more favorite, and gives the Dodgers a multi-faced offensive player who plays a lineup that is too often swinging and misses the way out of October.
Betts can be a free agent after the season and the Dodgers wanted to chase him back then, but have now brought him in. Boston decided that Betts had disappeared in a year and decided to maximize its value by estimating an AL East in which the Americans project better and the rays too. The Boston farm system is poor and could suffer another blow if a sign theft investigation results in penalties for choosing the design, as was the case in Houston.
Also believe what people are saying in an unguarded moment before public relations work. Red Sox owner John Henry said at the end of last season that Boston would fall under the tax threshold in 2020 before changing that it was not a mandate. It was. Boston excluding Betts and Price is now forecast to be below $ 208 million.
It was associated with considerable pain – Betts is the best local lookout point for the Red Sox since perhaps Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens. But they got Verdugo and Brusdar Graterol from the twins – think of it as 11 years of potential high-end service for a year at Betts. In addition, Boston still has a lot of talent. The idea that the Red Sox cannot be at least one wildcard contender is wrong.
Minnesota shoots for more than that, which is why Graterol gave up on Maeda. But it feels too much. Maeda is good, but an absolute newcomer, especially outside the NL and Dodger stadiums. Graterol is a respected prospect. But the twins haven't had a playoff game since 2004 and haven't won a title since 1991. That's why they're playing now.
The angels needed more pitching than the twins, but Pederson, who brutalized the rights, ended up in a separate deal for utility man Luis Rengifo. The Angels have an excess of outfielders, especially when top prospects like Jo Adell are almost done. Maybe there will be a future trade for a pitcher.
For now, Mookie Betts is the main outsider who has changed. When they arrive in LA, the team already has the favorite for the NL pennant.