Boston’s trade deadline moves left Mookie Betts without a regular spot in the lineup, so the Red Sox have decided to send the 21-year-old top prospect back to Triple-A.
In two stints in the big leagues Betts has logged 44 total plate appearances, hitting .244 with one homer and a .645 OPS in 13 games. In the minors this year he’s hit .342 with more walks (55) than strikeouts (43) and a .959 OPS in 88 games between Double-A and Triple-A, so he remains a huge part of the Red Sox’s long-term plans even if they’re not quite sure where yet.
To replace Betts on the roster the Red Sox activated Kelly Johnson, whom they acquired from the Yankees in exchange for Stephen Drew despite Johnson being on the disabled list with a groin injury. He can fill in all over the diamond and, unlike with Betts, the Red Sox won’t mind giving the 32-year-old Johnson sporadic playing time.
John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Giants have traded left-hander Matt Moore to the Rangers. The deal is pending a physical and has yet to be confirmed by the clubs. Shea adds that the Rangers are expected to receive several prospects in return.
Moore, 28, was brought over to the Giants in 2016 in a deadline swap for shortstop Matt Duffy and two minor leaguers. He went 6-15 in his first full season with the Giants, producing a 5.52 ERA, 3.5 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 through 32 starts and 174 1/3 innings in 2017. Moore stands to earn $9 million in 2018 and has a $10 million club option (and $1 million buyout) on his contract in 2019.
According to both Shea and Henry Schulman, the move is part of the Giants’ ongoing quest to shed payroll this offseason. After missing out on Giancarlo Stanton, the club still needs reinforcements in the outfield and will have to fill a void at third base as well — all while steering clear of the luxury tax threshold. Right fielder Hunter Pence has reportedly been floated as a trade option, but has a full no-trade clause and will likely be harder to move. The Rangers, meanwhile, will add Moore to a starting rotation that already boasts left-handers Cole Hamels, Mike Minor and Martin Perez.