Dodgers Trade Rumors: LA Pursuing Mookie Betts More as Lindor Talks Stall

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2020

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 29: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on September 29, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Dodgers may be shifting their focus toward Mookie Betts as their negotiations with the Cleveland Indians over a Francisco Lindor trade remain at an impasse.

MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Thursday the Indians are looking to receive Gavin Lux as part of a Lindor trade—a price the Dodgers aren't willing to meet.

"As a result, sources say the Dodgers' negotiations with the Red Sox about acquiring [Betts] have become at least as frequent—and perhaps even more involved—than their talks with the Indians about Lindor," Morosi wrote.

According to Morosi, Boston "appears less insistent on Lux" and could find a new home for David Price as part of a Betts trade. The Red Sox have already said they're looking to get under the luxury-tax threshold for 2020, so offloading some or all of the $96 million remaining on the left-handed starter's contract would fit with that plan.

Along with their genuine interest in Betts, Thursday's report could be one way for the Dodgers to exert a little more pressure on the Indians.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported Dec. 22 that Los Angeles was "being very aggressive" regarding a possible move for Lindor and starting pitcher Mike Clevinger.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Dodgers think the 22-year-old Lux could prove to be as good as Lindor, thus dissuading them from giving him up for the four-time All-Star. The second baseman only batted .240 in 23 MLB games in 2019 but had a .347/.421/.607 slash line across Double-A and Triple-A.

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Perhaps their stance regarding his availability would change if Cleveland included Clevinger in a trade package. The 29-year-old right-hander was 13-4 last season with a 2.71 ERA and 1.056 WHIP.

Baseball writer Jon Tayler questioned whether the team might also be attempting to look active in what has so far been an underwhelming offseason:

Gerrit Cole signed a nine-year, $324 million deal with the New York Yankees, spurning the Dodgers in the process, and Anthony Rendon said he thought the Los Angeles Angels were a better fit for him after signing a seven-year, $245 million deal with the Halos.

At the very least, it looks like the Indians have yet to close the door on Lindor talks, with Rosenthal reporting Dec. 19 that they had asked teams to make their final offers.