For a while, the suspense had been hovering in the air, a little will-they-won’t-they dance that lasted for months. After Mookie Betts trade talks had died down, in the past week they resurged, and the baseball world waited with baited breath. Late Tuesday afternoon, the dam burst.
In a three-team deal involving the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, and the Minnesota Twins, Mookie Betts and David Price will now don the classic blue uniforms, reported Jeff Passan of ESPN. After the trade, the Dodgers had an excess of outfielders, so they moved Joc Pederson to the Los Angeles Angels for infielder Luis Rengifo.
Pederson, 27, has mainly been a platoon player for the Dodgers. Although his stats against lefties are abysmal, he absolutely rakes righties, to the tune of an .860 OPS. As our Twitter page pointed out, his career wRC+ against right-handed pitchers is better than Anthony Rendon’s career wRC+. That’s some pretty serious pop! He was worth 3.3 bWAR in 2019, and his complete career slash line is .233/.339/.474/.813. Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic first reported that Pederson may be involved in a trade.
Pederson is also connected with Angels’ DH/1B Albert Pujols, as they both have a family member with Down syndrome. The two players have shared some touching moments over the years, and the Pujols foundation does a lot of work with Down syndrome in St. Louis and elsewhere. Now, Pederson and Pujols will be hitting in the same lineup.
Additionally, Pederson is currently in an arbitration hearing for his last year of arb. While he filed for $9.5 million, the Dodgers countered with $7.75 million. It remains to be seen if the Angels will settle with him or not.
As aforementioned, the Angels gave up young infielder Luis Rengifo. Rengifo, entering his age-23 season, got his first Major League cup-of-tea in 2019, hitting .238/.321/.364/.685 in 406 plate appearances while playing solid defense. He showed promise, and he will definitely be missed, but the Angels did have a logjam at infield. Rengifo did not figure to see much playing time in 2020. Dealing him opens the door to potential Andrelton Simmons and/or Tommy La Stella extensions.
The remainder of the Betts trade is as follows: Kenta Maeda will go to the Minnesota Twins, and Boston will receive MLB.com’s #83 prospect, RHP Brusdar Graterol, from Minnesota and outfielder Alex Verdugo from Los Angeles.
Photo by Ian D’Andrea from Philadelphia, PA