Mookie Betts Trade Rumors: Red Sox, Padres Engaged in Talks, Deal 'Unlikely'

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IJanuary 24, 2020

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 29: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after hitting a single 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

Boston Red Sox All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts' name is still circulating in trade rumors.

The Athletic's Dennis Lin reported Thursday the San Diego Padres "have discussed a trade centered around" Betts.

Lin added:

"Recent talks between the teams have focused on sending a significant amount of prospect talent and outfielder Wil Myers to Boston, according to sources. Multiple people familiar with the discussions characterized an agreement as unlikely, and the industry consensus is that Betts will be in a Red Sox uniform on Opening Day. Yet both sides appear to have legitimate interest."

Betts and the Red Sox avoided arbitration by agreeing to a record-breaking one-year, $27 million contract earlier this month. The 27-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2021, however.

ESPN's Buster Olney (h/t The Score's Simon Sharkey-Gotlieb) reported last week Boston has informed interested teams that a trade for Betts would also have to include left-handed starter David Price and two high-end prospects in return. Price is owed $96 million through the 2022 season, per Spotrac.

Red Sox owners publicly acknowledged in September the club is keen to unload Price's contract in an effort to get underneath the $208 million luxury tax threshold.

According to Lin, the Padres are in a similar situation with Myers' $61 million owed over the next three seasons. 

San Diego, like every other team that has been linked to Betts this offseason, may be out of luck. Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom asserted the team's commitment to compete in 2020 with Betts on the roster during an appearance on WEEI Radio last week: 

"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."

Boston's immediate future was muddied when manager Alex Cora was fired Jan. 14. Cora was axed in the aftermath of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal, as he was serving as the Astros bench coach during the 2017 World Series run in question.

It would make sense for Boston to try and get something in return for a star like Betts before he hits the open market, but if the team truly wants to contend next season, Betts is essential.

That's not to say the Red Sox won't look to move Betts prior to the 2020 MLB trade deadline if the season isn't panning out. 

Betts posted a .295/.391/.524 slash line with 29 home runs and 80 RBI across 150 games. His 135 runs scored led the league. As a fielder, Betts earned his fourth straight Gold Glove.

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