After nearly a week of consternation, the Mookie Betts trade is officially official, as both the Red Sox and Dodgers announced the trade on Monday evening. In case you missed it, the Dodgers got Betts along with David Price in exchange for Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, and Connor Wong.
As we’ve mentioned here many times, the Red Sox have been laser-focused on trimming payroll to get under the $208 million competitive balance tax threshold. The Dodgers are covering about half of Betts’ and Price’s remaining salaries — roughly $48 million. That gets the Red Sox under $190 million as it pertains to the CBT. The Red Sox were in the penalty for each of the past two seasons and didn’t want to make it three.
The Red Sox brass addressed the trade, using the typical language to justify the trade. Per Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said that the club would have pursued a Betts trade even if they were only $5 million above the CBT. Which, if you’re a Red Sox fan, has to be incredibly inspiring. Brings a tear to your eye, really.
Principal owner John Henry said, “While the organization in its entirety very much wanted to see Mookie in a Red Sox uniform for the length of his career, we believe in this decision as we are responsible and accountable for both the present and the future of the Red Sox.”
Along with the draft, the Red Sox will gamble on some prospects they received in the deal, hoping one of those players turns into a player as good as Mookie Betts. The circle of life.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.