Reports: Mookie Betts trade talks deteriorating, deal in jeopardy

Brusdar Graterol
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UPDATE [4:00 EST]: It turns out that the Twins are not in fact pulling out of the trade, according to multiple reports. Ken Rosenthal and Dan Hayes said that the Red Sox are demanding more from the Twins and the Twins are not willing to do that. So the Twins might not be out yet but things aren’t looking good. My own thoughts: what if the Dodgers move Maeda on their own and chip in some of their own prospects? Surely Jeter Downs or Josiah Gray could make this work, right? The union and the owners are about to get even angrier, I’d imagine. Who the hell knows what’s going on anymore. What a mess.

[3:28 EST] LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minnesota Star-Tribune is reporting that the Twins are keeping Brusdar Graterol and will therefore not be part of the trade that would send Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers. Graterol was originally going to be shipped to Los Angeles in exchange for starter Kenta Maeda, and would have subsequently been flipped to the Red Sox along with outfielder Alex Verdugo.

The trade hit a snag when the Red Sox, who had planned on deploying Graterol as a starter, saw something in his medical records that made them think he would likely be a reliever long-term. The Twins were already planning to use Graterol out of the bullpen before the trade, and the idea that Graterol will be a reliever is supported by some in media and outside prospect evaluation community.

MLB Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark had already issued a statement last night in which he urged the involved teams to reach a quick resolution, given that the involved players were in a state of limbo.

The Betts trade is also the contingent for the deal that would send Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling to the Angels. Pederson was just defeated in a salary arbitration hearing by the Dodgers. The hearing took place after many in the Dodgers organization had already wished him well with the Angels, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The future viability of the Betts trade is now in question. There had been talk that the Twins could possibly provide a different player in exchange for Maeda, but their departure means that the Dodgers will either have to find a different team to get in on the action, provide a prospect themselves, possibly take on even more of Price’s salary, or nix the deal entirely.

The collapse of the trade could lead to serious friction in both the Red Sox and Dodgers clubhouses, given that the players in the deal were essentially told that they were expendable to the organizations. The Red Sox situation in particular could get ugly, given that moving on from Betts and Price essentially signaled that the Red Sox were okay with not contending for a title this year. The Dodgers are also now under pressure to find a way to make this work. The addition of Betts would essentially make them World Series favorites, and letting this caliber of player slip through their fingers would be devastating.

The Angels will also be left holding the bag, given that they were counting on Pederson and Stripling to play fairly prominent roles on this year’s team. Jon Heyman reported last night that owner Arte Moreno was upset with the current situation, and one can imagine that he’s even angrier now.

This was already an embarrassing look for the Red Sox, and now it’s even worse. It’s incredible that trading away literally Mookie Betts has gotten this difficult.

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