After coming up short on the free agent market, the Los Angeles Dodgers are turning to the trade market in search of a star.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have been somewhere in the mix for the top-end free agents so far this offseason, before Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon and Madison Bumgarner all eventually landed elsewhere. Still, it seems like the Dodgers are undeterred in their search to add a notable piece, now apparently pivoting to the trade market.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY, the Dodgers have engaged in preliminary trade talks with the Boston Red Sox regarding outfielder Mookie Betts.
The Dodgers also have lingering rumored interest in Francisco Lindor, and Nightengale added that the Indians’ All-Star shortstop remains their top priority. Betts seems to have essentially surfaced as a fallback option if a deal to get Lindor can’t be agreed on, as much as a former AL MVP with four straight Gold Gloves and the second-highest bWAR in all of baseball over the last five seasons (39.7, behind only Mike Trout) can be anything resembling an afterthought.
Betts feels more likely be traded this offseason, heading into the last year of his contract and projected to earn close to $30 million via arbitration. The Red Sox may try to trim some payroll and restock a lackluster farm system. With Betts consistent in his desire to hit the market, as well as get max value in his next contract, trading him would accomplish both rather nicely.
At first glance, the Dodgers don’t appear to have a great need at shortstop or in the outfield. But shortstop Corey Seager has reportedly been included in trade talks with Cleveland and Boston, and he’d particularly and obviously be on his way to the Indians in any deal for Lindor. In the Dodgers’ outfield, only reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger has a spot locked down and is untouchable. An outfield with Bellinger and Betts would instantly become one of the best in baseball, no matter who filled the remaining spot.
The Dodgers are uniquely positioned to add a big name in a trade, with the willingness to take on salary and a farm system that’s consistently toward the top of anyone’s rankings. Be it Lindor, Betts or someone else, it’s easy to bet on them making a deal for a big name star in the coming weeks or months.