San Diego Padres

Padres need to up the ante if they want to land Mookie Betts

If the San Diego Padres really want to Mookie Betts, they’ll have to do bettter than what appears to the outline of an initial offer.

In back-to-back offseasons the San Diego Padres gave big free agent contracts to first baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Manny Machado. Any talk of a move to add another star this offseason has mostly centered on a trade for outfielder Mookie Betts, as the Boston Red Sox consider what to do with the star outfielder heading into his final year of team control.

The Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers and now the Arizona Diamondbacks (per Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic) seem to have moved to the forefront of Betts’ speculation. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune has taken a closer look at the situation from the Padres’ end, including a possible structure of a trade for Betts.

According to Acee, San Diego is trying to structure a deal around two young MLB-level players – an outfielder (Manuel Margot or Josh Naylor) and a pitcher (Cal Quantrill or Joey Lucchesi) – and at least one prospect.

It’s no secret the Padres want of offload at least some portion of the  $61 million Wil Myers is due over the next three years, and they’re apparently willing to tap into their trove of prospects to do it. Since Betts is a one-year rental right now, and making $27 million this year, Boston is reportedly offering to assume about half what Myers is owed. The Padres only want to eat a quarter of what Myers is owed though. So there’s approximately a $15 million difference, as the two sides talk dollars.

Trying to dump most of Myers’ bad contract on Boston is one thing, albeit without knowing who the prospect or prospects are that might be part of the deal for Betts along with two of Margot, Naylor, Lucchesi and Quantrill. But if the Padres have made the offer that’s been generally outlined, the Red Sox have surely already said something along the lines of “no, thank you” or “try again.”

It’s noteworthy that things have ramped up with the Padres recently, but it’s fair to assume serious trade negotiations regarding Betts are relatively far off for Boston.

An initial offer will not always be the best, if only as leverage tactic. But San Diego general manager A.J. Preller will need to up the ante to get Betts, perhaps quickly, or risk seeing the Dodgers swoop in and add the second-best player in baseball (as measured by WAR) over the last four seasons.

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