Turns out trading a 27-year-old outfielder with an American League MVP on his resume in the middle of his prime isn't an easy thing to do.
"This trade is a very hard one to make," Boston Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said of sending Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers, per Ian Browne of MLB.com. "But our charge as a department is to compete consistently year in and year out. We can only do that with a talent base at every level of the organization that is deep and sustainable."
The trade was anything but easy from a logistical standpoint, as a three-team deal involving the Minnesota Twins ultimately didn't go through as originally planned.
In that trade, Betts and David Price were set to go to the Dodgers, Alex Verdugo and Brusdar Graterol were set to go to Boston, and Kenta Maeda was set to go to Minnesota. However, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported the Red Sox were "spooked" by the medical review of Graterol, who has undergone Tommy John surgery in the past.
After a lengthy delay, the trades were ultimately finalized with Betts and Price going to the Dodgers and Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong going to the Red Sox.
Separately, Maeda and cash are going to the Twins, while Graterol, Luke Raley and the 67th pick in the draft are going to the Dodgers.
Even with the back-and-forth, the headliner is Betts. In addition to the 2018 AL MVP, he has a World Series title, four All-Star nods, four Gold Gloves, three Silver Slugger awards and a batting title on his list of accomplishments. He joins a loaded Dodgers lineup with the likes of Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner that figures to challenge for a spot in the World Series.
Seeing someone of Betts' caliber be traded away from a marquee team like the Red Sox is jarring, especially since it is in win-now mode in a daunting American League East.
While it helps Boston dip under the luxury-tax threshold and reset any future penalties, this is not a franchise accustomed to rebuilding or making cost-cutting moves in the middle of a competitive window. Owner John Henry addressed the ensuing fans' concerns in a released statement, per Christopher Smith of MassLive.com:
"While the organization in its entirety very much wanted to see Mookie in a Red Sox uniform for the length of his career, we believe in this decision as we are responsible and accountable for both the present and the future of the Red Sox. In trading a great player, a beloved player, we recognize how incredibly difficult this is for fans who fully understand just how special Mookie is."
Bloom granted that "it had to be a high bar for us to consider moving," the outfielder, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe.
The Dodgers apparently cleared that bar.