Does the Mookie Betts trade prevent Francisco Lindor from going to the Dodgers? Tribe Take
Paul Hoynes Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Mookie Betts beat Francisco Lindor to the Dodgers on Tuesday night. Does that mean the Dodgers can no longer afford the Indians’ switch-hitting shortstop?
The Dodgers added Betts — the 2018 AL MVP — and left-hander David Price from Boston. They sent young outfielder Alex Verdugo and right-hander Brusdar Graterol, acquired from the Twins for right-hander Kenta Maeda, to the Red Sox.
Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers president of baseball operations, continued to thin his crowded outfield by trading Joc Pederson to the Angels for second baseman Luis Rengifo. In December at the winter meetings, Rengifo was one of the players involved in discussions between the Angels and Indians in a possible Corey Kluber trade.
Physicals must be passed before any of these deals become official. More players could be involved, and it’s still being determined how much money the Dodgers will be taking on with Betts and Price. Betts is making $27 million this year and Price is still owed $96 million over the last three years of his deal.
Friedman made all this happen and hardly touched his talented farm system. Gavin Lux and Dustin May haven’t gone anywhere.
That’s how Lindor could still fit in Hollywood. Betts could be a one-year rental. He’s a free agent after this season and turned down rumored offers of over $300 million to stay with the Red Sox.
The Dodgers certainly have enough money to convince Betts to sign a multiyear deal, but so did the Red Sox. Betts sounds like a man who wants to see what he’s worth on the open market.
Friedman spent the winter talking to the Red Sox and Indians about Betts and Lindor. He landed Betts, at least for a year, so what’s to stop him from going after Lindor before the July 31 trade deadline or next winter if the Indians keep him the whole season?
In 2018 Friedman rented shortstop Manny Machado from the Orioles for the last two months of the season. Machado became a free agent after that year and signed a 10-year $300 million deal with the Padres.
On Saturday at Tribe Fest, Lindor included himself among the five players any owner would want to start a team with. A case can be made for Betts being in that group as well. Now it’s feasible that they could be playing together on the Dodgers sometime in the near future, along with Cody Bellinger, last year’s NL MVP, as the Dodgers try to win their first World Series since 1988.
How much trouble would manager Dave Roberts have writing these names in the top five spots in his lineup: Betts, Lindor, Max Muncy, Justin Turner and Bellinger?
The Twins’ deal for Maeda should not be overlooked. Graterol was their No. 3 prospect, according to mlb.com, but their need for starting pitching to repeat as AL Central champs cannot be overlooked. Maeda, 10-8 with a 4.04 ERA in 37 games last season, is a good middle-of-the-rotation starter. The Dodgers, who have won seven straight NL West titles, frequently moved him to the bullpen in the postseason, where he excelled.
Maeda, who made 26 starts in 37 appearances last year, averaged 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 24 postseason games with the Dodgers.
The Twins know their rotation is questionable and they’ve been throwing numbers at the problem this winter. Jake Odorizzi accepted their qualifying offer, free agent Michael Pineda re-signed, and they’ve added Homer Bailey, Rich Hill, Jhoulys Chacin and Maeda. Pineda will be ineligible at the start of the season because he has to finish his PED suspension. Hill is recovering from left elbow surgery and may not be ready until midseason.
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