It’s deja vu all over again.
A day after the report that the White Sox asked the Yankees for Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos in return for John Danks comes word from Bob Klapisch that the A’s wanted the same package in Gio Gonzalez trade talks.
Which at least is somewhat justifiable. Gonzalez is better than Danks, plus he’s a full four years away from free agency, making him a one of the game’s more valuable pitchers. Gonzalez has combined to go 31-21 while finishing with ERAs of 3.23 and 3.12 the last two years. Danks has never finished with an ERA that good, and he actually came in at 4.33 last season.
The Yankees still weren’t going to give up both for Gonzalez, but the A’s certainly have no reason to part with their young left-hander for much less. According to Klapisch, the A’s were willing to settle for Dellin Betances instead of Banuelos, but that still didn’t get a deal done.
The Royals, who can offer top outfield prospect Wil Myers and one of their better pitching prospects, have also expressed interest in Gonzalez. However, there’s nothing to indicate that anything will get done anytime soon.
The Red Sox have some tough decisions to make in advance of the World Series next week; namely, what to do with some of their hottest-hitting players once the series shifts to a National League park — and National League rules. During a press conference on Saturday, manager Alex Cora said he’d be open to the idea of starting All-Star right fielder Mookie Betts at second base when the club’s regular DH, J.D. Martinez, is forced to play the outfield during away games.
The Red Sox carry home field advantage through the Fall Classic, so Games 1 and 2 will be played at Fenway Park — as well as Games 6 and 7, should those become necessary. Depending on the outcome of NLCS Game 7 later tonight, World Series Games 3 through 5 will be played at Dodger Stadium or Miller Park. That’s when Betts might take over the keystone from Ian Kinsler and Brock Holt, both of whom have shared second base duties over the course of the 2018 postseason.
The idea isn’t without merit. Betts and Martinez comprise two of the team’s top talents at the plate and, should the Red Sox need to stave off elimination in Games 4 and 5, sitting either of them doesn’t make sense. The 26-year-old Betts led the team with a staggering .346/.438/.640 batting line, 32 home runs, 30 stolen bases, and career-best 10.4 fWAR over 614 PA, while Martinez posted some career totals of his own, slashing .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs, a 1.031 OPS, and 5.9 fWAR in 649 PA. This wouldn’t be the first time Betts has taken reps at second, either, as he’s logged 15 games at the position over the course of his five-year career, most recently during a 4-1 win over the Yankees in August.
Whether or not Betts is considered a lock for all three games is another question, one to which Cora didn’t give a definite answer. “I don’t know, man,” the skipper told reporters Saturday. “[Betts] already played second during the regular season, so there’s always a chance, I guess.” He later added that while Betts would be taking ground balls at second, it’s part of the routine he’s maintained all year — so nothing should be read into it until a clear decision has been announced.