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MLB Rumors: Twins Expected to Pull Out of Dodgers-Red Sox Trade for Mookie Betts

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2020

FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019 file photo, Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Brusdar Graterol throws his first MLB pitch during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit. With less than a week before pitchers and catchers were scheduled to report to spring training, the Red Sox sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deal that brought outfielder Alex Verdugo and Twins pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol to Boston. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

The blockbuster trade of Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers will reportedly no longer include the Minnesota Twins as the third team.

According to La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune, the Twins do not expect to be part of the deal after the Red Sox expressed concern over the medical history of 21-year-old pitcher Brusdar Graterol. The Red Sox reportedly asked the Twins to include another top-10 prospect in the deal, but they balked at the idea.

Chad Jennings of The Athletic reported the Twins will pull out of the deal. Joel Sherman of the New York Post added that the Twins weren't removing themselves from the deal but asked for a resolution to occur Saturday.

ESPN's Alden Gonzalez reported the Twins were willing to renegotiate and that all teams wanted the situation to be resolved by the time players report to spring training. Neal noted that while the Twins don't expect a deal to be made, they haven't pulled out.

Ken Rosenthal and Dan Hayes of The Athletic seconded that notion, and Rosenthal added that the trade could evolve with the Twins sending Graterol and a prospect to the Dodgers and L.A. then flipping Graterol and another better prospect to Boston.

The trade would have sent Betts and starting pitcher David Price from Boston to L.A., outfielder Alex Verdugo from L.A. to Boston, Graterol from Minnesota to Boston and starting pitcher Kenta Maeda from L.A. to Minnesota.

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Per Neal, the Red Sox were concerned Graterol's long-term future will be as a reliever rather than a starter because of his medical history. While the Twins were reportedly "excited" to land Maeda, they did not want to part with another top prospect.

As a result, the Dodgers will likely have to add another prospect or the Dodgers and Red Sox will have to find another team interested in parting with a prospect in exchange for Maeda.

The issue is also holding up another agreed-upon deal, as the Dodgers are set to send left fielder Joc Pederson and pitcher Ross Stripling to the Los Angeles Angels. That swap may not happen if the Dodgers are unable to land Betts and move Maeda.

Graterol is a flamethrower from Venezuela who appeared in 10 games for the Twins last season, all in relief. He went 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 9.2 innings.

In 18 outings (11 starts) split between three minor league levels last season, Graterol went 7-0 with a 1.92 ERA and 61 strikeouts over 61 innings.

Minnesota was willing to part with Graterol and his potential in order to boost its rotation with Maeda. The 31-year-old is set to enter his fifth MLB season after signing with the Dodgers in 2016.

He went 10-8 with a 4.04 ERA and 169 strikeouts in 153.2 innings last season. He likely would have slotted in behind Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi and ahead of Homer Bailey and Rich Hill in the Minnesota starting rotation.

After winning the American League Central last season, the Twins are clearly looking to contend for the World Series in 2020. Landing Maeda would have been a win-now move.

The Red Sox were set to receive one of the most talented young outfielders in the game in Verdugo, but it is difficult to envision their parting with Betts in exchange for only Verdugo and the ability to dump Price's salary.

The Dodgers do have a stacked farm system, so perhaps they will give up another prospect, but L.A. may still have to find a taker for Maeda or another surplus starter since there won't be room in the rotation with Price, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Alex Wood and Julio Urias.

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