It’s no secret the Braves are in a little bit of a bind this offseason. Nick Markakis was wildly ineffective after his injury, but the club has the option to bring him back and bide their time while Drew Waters and Cristian Pache marinate in AAA.
This free-agent market is extraordinarily thin, and there aren’t many options on the trade market either – but there is this one guy you might recognize.
Mookie Betts seems destined to be traded by the Red Sox this offseason. After a disappointing 2019, finishing 3rd ahead of only the lowly Blue Jays and Orioles, Boston will be making some substantial changes, and that could involve trading their star player. Betts had a “down year” by his standards, which is laughable because he hit .295/.391/.915 with 28 HRs and 80 RBIs at the age of 27. However, it’s still a far cry from his MVP campaign in which he hit .346/.438/.640/.1.078 with 32 HRs and 32 steals. Betts has become one of the most versatile and dangerous weapons in baseball, so should and could the Braves be in the market for his services?
The answer in short: No.
Betts would be amazing to have. A Pache/Waters, Acuña, and Betts outfield would be in the top three in all of baseball and provide Freddie Freeman with all sorts of protection. There is a caveat, though. Betts is scheduled to make around $30 million in arbitration this season. Not too bad considering what he’s done.
He’ll also be a free agent after next season and has adamantly said he will be testing the open market.
Betts would be a magnificent addition for this club, but there is a strong possibility he would be nothing more than an expensive one-year rental. Bleacher Report created a trade scenario that would send Ian Anderson and Ender Inciarte to Boston in exchange for one year of Betts’ services. After that, he’s fair game, and there’s no guarantee the Tennessee native would stick around in Braves country. I think Anderson is too high of a price to pay for that. My final offer to Boston would be similar but would include much more risk for them, especially considering Betts’ high price tag for 2020.
Atlanta Sends: RHP Kyle Wright, RHP Patrick Weigel, & OF Ender Inciarte
Boston Sends: OF Mookie Betts
Is there a guarantee Boston takes this bet? Of course not. Is this the best offer they might get? Possibly. It’s no secret Betts is a rental, and other teams aren’t going to pay hand over fist for him unless they know there’s a contract ready to be signed when he gets off of the plane, which seems highly unlikely.
Wright has looked shaky but still has elite intangibles. Weigel has been sneaky good when healthy. Inciarte provides an elite defensive replacement. I wouldn’t go much higher than this – maybe throw in Kyle Muller (who I absolutely LOVE) if it gets it done – but Anderson is too steep of a price to pay for a player who has eyes on a potential record-breaking contract and will still make around $30 million this upcoming season, preventing the Braves from making any significant secondary moves. If Betts wants to sign an extension, moving Anderson and one of Pache or Waters into the discussion is in play. Until then, don’t expect Atlanta to make a move for him.
Do you think the Braves should trade for Betts? What would be the most you would offer for a year of his services?