Mookie Betts
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Report: Red Sox, Padres have discussed Mookie Betts trade

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The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reports that the Red Sox and Padres have discussed a trade involving outfielder Mookie Betts. In any such trade, prospects and outfielder Wil Myers would go to the Red Sox. Lin cautions that a deal isn’t likely at this point, but both sides do seem to have interest.

Betts, 27, is a four-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove Award winner who won the 2018 AL MVP Award. He finished last season batting .295/.391/.524 with 29 home runs, 80 RBI, 135 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases across 706 plate appearances.

The Red Sox are currently about $18 million above the $208 million competitive balance tax threshold. It is well-known they seek to get under the threshold for the first time since 2017. Trading Betts, who is owed $27 million and can become a free agent after the season, would seem to be the easiest way to achieve that goal.

The Padres have what many consider to be baseball’s best minor league system. They can certainly afford to acquire a player of Betts’ caliber. The debate is whether or not they should give up so much for a rental. Whether it’s the Padres or another team, we should be hearing many more trade rumors involving Betts in the coming months.

Maddon: Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again for Angels this year

Shohei Ohtani
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Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again this season for the Los Angeles Angels after straining his right forearm in his second start, manager Joe Maddon says.

Ohtani likely will return to the Angels’ lineup as their designated hitter this week, Maddon said Tuesday night before the club opened a road series against the Seattle Mariners.

The Angels’ stance on Ohtani is unsurprising after the club announced he had strained the flexor pronator mass near the elbow of his pitching arm. The two-way star’s recovery from the strain requires him to abstain from throwing for four to six weeks, which covers most of the shortened 2020 season.

“I’m not anticipating him pitching at all this year,” Maddon said. “Any kind of throwing program is going to be very conservative.”

Ohtani was injured Sunday in the second inning of his second start since returning to the mound following Tommy John surgery in late 2018. Ohtani issued five walks during the 42-pitch inning against the Houston Astros, with his velocity dropping later in the frame.

The arm injury is another obstacle in Ohtani’s path to becoming the majors’ first true two-way player in decades. He made 10 mound starts as a rookie in 2018 before injuring his elbow, but he served as the Angels’ regular designated hitter last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Ohtani has pitched in only three games since June 2018, but the Angels still believe in Ohtani’s ability to be a two-way player, Maddon said.

“I’m seeing that he can,” Maddon said. “We’ve just got to get past the arm maladies and figure that out. But I’ve seen it. He’s just such a high-end arm, and we’ve seen what he can do in the batter’s box. Now maybe it might get to the point where he may choose to do one thing over the other and express that to us. I know he likes to hit. In my mind’s eye, he’s still going to be able to do this.”

The veteran manager believes Ohtani will benefit from a full spring training and a normal season. Ohtani wasn’t throwing at full strength for a starter when the coronavirus pandemic shut down spring training in March because he wasn’t expected to pitch until May as he returned from surgery.

“Going into a regular season with a normal number of starts and all the things that permit guys to be ready for a year, that’s what we need to see is some normalcy before you make that kind of determination,” Maddon said.

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