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Written By Brandon Warne (ZoneCoverage.com)
Assuming the deal actually reaches the finish line, the final result for the Minnesota Twins was roughly the same. In the revised trade scenario, the Twins still wound up with starting pitcher Kenta Maeda and still dealt prospect Brusdar Graterol.
That trade, as presently reported, looks like this:
- Kenta Maeda
- $10 million cash
- Reported possible player from Dodgers, likely a minor leaguer
- Mookie Betts
- David Price
- Brusdar Graterol
- Luke Raley
- Competitive Round B pick
- Cash from Boston to cover half of Price’s remaining contract ($48 million)
Red Sox receive
The deal will not be finalized until teams complete medical reviews.
When the initially proposed trade fell apart late last week, the Twins maintained an interest in the general framework of the deal that’d return them Maeda, the Japanese righty who’ll turn 32 in April and likely slot near the upper-middle of the team’s rebuilt rotation. That interest, however, was dealing directly with the Dodgers.
Nobody in the public sphere knows for sure if the Boston Red Sox acted in bad faith. There remains a distinct path where Boston was unnerved by something in Graterol’s medical files — something the Red Sox were not privy to until a deal was agreed upon, of course, pending medical review — and asked for more back in the trade. Accusations flew publicly online suggesting the Red Sox saw the public outcry and then pulled back, manufacturing a reason to doubt Graterol’s initial value and subsequently asking the Twins for more in the trade.
And if even part of that latter part is true, the optics of it are impossibly bad for the Red Sox.
The Twins smartly resisted, and in turn called Boston’s bluff. The likely reality, in that case, was that the blowback was not over the return, but instead over a Mount Rushmore franchise trading one of its five best players in team history over money — something ownership has plenty of. While it might be foolish to give Betts the reported 10 years and $400-plus million he was asking for, fans weren’t going to want to hear that if he left for ostensibly nothing more than a compensatory draft pick following what’s expected to be a trying 2020 campaign for the Red Sox.
So rather than tabling in-season contract negotiations with Betts or worse, facing a season-long staring contest, Boston’s Chaim Bloom-led front office decided to cut the situation off at the pass, moving Betts with Price to the Dodgers while receiving back Verdugo and a prospect-laden package rather than Graterol from the Twins.
And as a side note, it was kind of interesting that Bloom and Andrew Friedman hooked up on a deal. Both were important parts of Tampa Bay’s front office over the last half-decade or so.
Derek Falvey and Thad Levine’s fortuitousness paid off. While the re-worked deal cost them Raley and a competitive-balance pick (No. 67 overall), it didn’t cost them the reported “other top-10 prospect” the Red Sox were reportedly seeking. Raley and the draft pick both have value, but Raley was part of a crowded Twins outfield situation — and first base wasn’t likely to open anytime soon, either. Though to be fair, acquiring Betts makes the Dodgers’ outfield situation murkier yet for a young player. It’s possible the Dodgers will trade him for the second time in the near future.
The Twins picking 67th in the MLB draft was always going to be a wild-card proposition, but teams have obviously gotten talent around that part of the draft in recent seasons. Players drafted within five picks of that spot in recent seasons include Mets superstar Pete Alonso (No. 64 in 2016), budding Blue Jays star Bo Bichette (No. 66 in 2016) and even Verdugo, who went 62nd in the 2014 draft.
Though that’s three big-time contributors over the last five seasons — not a fantastic rate of success by any means.
So again, it appears the Twins did well here to dig in their collective heels. They still got their man, still traded the same prospect and in the process netted a little cash along the way.
There are a lot of ways to look at the $10 million acquired by the Twins. It’ll cover more than three years of Maeda’s base salary — something in the vicinity of $3 million per season — or it could be earmarked for bonuses built into the contracts of Rich Hill, Josh Donaldson and Homer Bailey.
In any event, it’s added financial flexibility — something Falvey and Levine have clearly show they value highly — for a team poised to blow right past its previous record for Opening Day payroll.
In the final analysis, the Twins added their impact pitcher in an offseason flush with player movement — and another one over the age of 30.
Funny how that works. More on that later.