In order for the Boston Red Sox to deal 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (h/t The Score's Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb), interested teams must also be willing to take on left-handed pitcher David Price and his $96 million contract.
The Red Sox additionally want "two high-end prospects."
Betts and Boston agreed to a record-breaking one-year, $27 million contract to avoid arbitration earlier this month. Should a team add Betts and Price in a trade, $59 million in salary would be added. Price is owed $32 million each of the next three seasons, per Spotrac.
The Red Sox underwent an unexpected, major change when manager Alex Cora was fired Tuesday following MLB's investigation into the Houston Astros illegally stealing signs during their 2017 World Series run in which Cora served as the bench coach.
However, per the Associated Press' Jimmy Golen, Boston is not packing it in for 2020. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told WEEI Radio that Betts is expected to be on the Red Sox's Opening Day roster:
"That's really been my expectation all along. I think big picture, and this applies to everything, we're not doing our jobs if we're not open to anything that improves our chances to compete as successfully and as often as possible over the course of the next decade. That has kind of been our guiding principle as we have accessed interest in any of our players. But you do that with the expectation that they will be here. And that will certainly be the case with Mookie."
"[Betts is] the biggest person for our team, or one of the biggest," Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts added. "We have a lot of veterans in this clubhouse to make another run. We've been through the good and we've been through the bad, and we're still here. We should have a great year again this year."
Prior to Cora's firing, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported that Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is more likely to be traded than Betts or Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.
In December, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported that Price was garnering interest from the Toronto Blue Jays as the Red Sox were looking to get below the $208 million luxury-tax threshold. The club's owners, John Henry and Tom Werner, publicly confirmed they were looking to trim salary in September.
Betts posted a .295/.391/.524 slash line with 29 home runs and 80 RBI at the plate while also earning his fourth straight Gold Glove.
Price was shakier in 2019, though, with a 7-5 record and 4.28 ERA across 22 starts. The 34-year-old former Cy Young Award winner's 1.31 WHIP was his highest since 2009.