Dave Roberts: Mookie Betts Trade from Red Sox to Dodgers Was 'A Steal'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 26, 2020

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts yells from the dugout before a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Dave Roberts is well versed when it comes to the Boston Red Sox and steals. 

With the Los Angeles Dodgers one win away from the World Series title, Roberts reflected on the deal that brought Mookie Betts to L.A.

"We got a steal," he said, per Dodgers Nation. "I'm just so grateful that the deal was done because it's not just going to help us this year...it's going to impact players not even drafted by the Dodgers yet."

One drawback to trading away stars at Betts' level is that it's almost impossible to get equal value in return. By waiting until the four-time All-Star was one year away from free agency, the Red Sox watched their leverage erode even more.

Theoretically, teams should've been lining up to throw trade offers Boston's way. The reality was that Betts' $27 million salary for 2020 was cost-prohibitive for a lot of general managers given how much more he would inevitably be earning from a long-term extension. He and the Dodgers agreed to a 12-year, $365 million deal.

As a result, the Red Sox wound up getting Alex Verdugo and a pair of minor league prospects, shortstop Jeter Downs and catcher Connor Wong. Of course, it bears remembering that Boston also sent David Price to Los Angeles as part of the trade. Price opted out of the 2020 season.

Verdugo finished with six home runs, 15 RBI and a .308/.367/.478 slash line in his first season in Boston. Those numbers are solid but below what Betts did with the Dodgers. 

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The star right fielder had 16 homers, 39 RBI and a .292/.366/.562 slash line. He also has an .805 OPS in the playoffs and made a number of outstanding plays during the team's postseason run.

You generally need to wait before rendering any firm judgments about a transaction of this magnitude. Maybe the combined production of Verdugo, Downs and Wong surpasses what Betts would've given Boston in 2020 and beyond.

But it's certainly looking already like Roberts' view is right on the money.