Thank You, Alex Verdugo!
He was going to be one of our outfield regulars, but now he's the main piece going to the Red Sox in the Mookie Betts / David Price trade -- likely to be considered the Dodgers biggest trade in franchise history.
As you already know, the Dodgers have apparently pulled off a caper of monumental proportions. It's a deal that is befuddling due to the stars involved. After all, why would you ever consider sending away the second best ballplayer in the game? Not only that, we basically got him and an All-Star hurler for a top prospect and two other farmhands who seemingly were blocked at every level.
From what has been reported recently (keep in mind it has not yet been confirmed by either club), the Dodgers are getting right-fielder Mookie Betts and former Cy Young winner David Price from the Red Sox for outfielder Alex Verdugo, prospect infielder Jeter Downs and catching prospect Connor Wong. On top of that, Boston is paying half of Price's salary.
This is why you and I are not GM's and Andrew Friedman is.
He just pulled off a trade that is essentially a leverage buyout -- he gets valuable assets by willingly taking on debt to get the deal done. You see, the Red Sox are like an over-bloated corporation, saddled with debt that they see as constrictive. Now comes in the cash rich Dodgers who have a deep pool of young talent and a balance sheet poised for adding large contracts. So, the Dodgers take on the $59 Million in contracts for 2020 ($27M Betts & $32M Price), plus an additional $64 Million over the following two seasons ($32M in 2021 & 2022 for Price). That equals a total new debt load of $123 Million over three years. But that's not all, Boston will actually pay half of Price's salary -- $48 Million. So, the final amount of debt taken on by the Dodgers is $75 Million over three years.
All of this cost the Dodgers only a little bit of their depth. Mookie replaces Verdugo in the outfield, and the Dodgers farm is so deep I feel fairly comfortable in saying that we should not miss him -- even if Betts choses not to stay a Dodger after the 2020 season. Prospect Jeter Down (yes, he is named after Yankee Hall of Famer Derek Jeter) faces hurdles and roadblocks on the infield, and Connor Wong is not even considered a top-three catching prospect on the Dodgers. Sitting in front of him on the depth chart are Will Smith, Keivert Ruiz and Diego Cartaya.
This all being said, it's disappointing that we won't be reaping the rewards of Alex Verdugo. He was quickly becoming a fan favorite -- with his exuberant displays of positive emotions in the dugout. He seemed to be an asset in the clubhouse, and I think teammates and fans will miss his personality. But make no mistake, when a trade like this crosses your plate, you do the deal... NO MATTER WHAT!
In honor of the work and joy Verdugo provided I made a couple of custom fantasy Baseball cards of him that you can see at the very top of this post. I've also included several links to news stories I thought pertinent:
- Per Ken Gurnick at MLB.com -- "Mookie Betts on his way to LA -- again (source)."
- Via Javier Morales at All Sports Tucson -- "FEATUREDSupport From Alex Verdugo’s Parents Nurtured Him From Sahuaro High School to Baseball Headliner as Part of Blockbuster Trade."
Although Verdugo’s support is wide-ranging in baseball, nobody comes close to how his parents, Tucsonans Joe and Shelly Verdugo, have put him in a position to succeed.“I respect my parents for how they have been there for me from the beginning,” Alex told me in a 2017 interview. “They put countless hours in on me and my mom got me in private lessons. She always made sure I was taking the right steps to get my career off to the right start.”
- Via David Schoenfield at ESPN -- "Mookie Betts to the Dodgers is done: Here's what you need to know."
- This has always been lurking in the shadows. Via Sheryl Ring, Esq. at Beyond the Boxscore -- "The unspoken problem with the Mookie Betts trade: Alex Verdugo was credibly implicated in a sexual assault. Why doesn’t that seem to matter?"
- Via Christopher Smith at Mass Live -- "Mookie Betts trade: Who are Jeter Downs, Connor Wong? Boston Red Sox newest prospects both bashed 24 homers in 2019."
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