Mookie Betts and David Price Sent Packing
FORT MYERS – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – Boston Red Sox today traded outfielder Mookie Betts and left-handed pitcher David Price along with cash considerations to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for outfielder Alex Verdugo, infielder Jeter Downs, and catcher/infielder Connor Wong.
Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom made the announcement.
“Mookie and David have written chapters in our history that will last forever. They are special both on the field and off, and we are so grateful to them for the joy that they’ve brought to Red Sox Nation,” said Bloom.
“Our overarching goal is to maintain a talent base that puts us in position to win as much as possible for years to come. That goal was front and center for us as we considered this trade. We have a talented major league roster, and we fully expect to compete for the postseason in 2020. By adding Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, and Connor Wong to the organization, we are in better position to sustain that competitiveness in the years ahead.
We are excited to welcome all three of them to the Red Sox family.”
“In trading a great player, a beloved player, we recognize how incredibly difficult this is for fans who fully understand just how special Mookie is,” said Principal Owner John Henry. “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. We thank Mookie for his incredible contributions, both on and off the field.”
“David’s arrival in Boston paved the way for a historic chapter for the Red Sox,” Henry continued. “His presence at the top of our rotation was critical to winning three consecutive division championships, and his 2018 Postseason performance put both his talent and tenacity on full display. We appreciate what both Mookie and David brought to our club, and are grateful that they will forever be Red Sox World Series Champions.”
“Today’s trade illustrates the difficult decisions necessary to achieve our goal, which has remained unchanged since we became stewards of this franchise nearly two decades ago: to bring multiple World Series Championships to Boston,” said Chairman Tom Werner.
“Ultimately, we believe that this will set us up for sustained long-term success. I want to express our enormous thanks to Mookie and David for the impact they had on our club and our community.”
Betts, 27, was signed by Boston as a fifth-round selection in the 2011 June Draft and spent his first nine professional seasons in the Red Sox organization. In 794 major league games, he has hit .301 (965-for-3,203) with an .893 OPS, 139 home runs, 470 RBI, 613 runs scored, and 126 stolen bases.
He finished in the top 10 in American League MVP voting in each of the last four years, finishing as the runner-up in 2016 and winning the award in 2018. Betts also won a Gold Glove Award and earned an All-Star Game selection in each season from 2016-19, also garnering Silver Slugger Awards in 2016, 2018, and 2019. In 2018, Betts won the AL batting title and earned the MLBPAA’s Heart and Hustle Award, helping lead the Red Sox to a World Series title.
Price, 34, spent the last four seasons with the Red Sox (2016-19), going 46-24 with a 3.84 ERA (251 ER/588.0 IP) in 103 appearances (98 starts) during the regular season. The five-time All-Star and 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner has appeared in 321 games (311 starts) for the Rays (2008-14), Tigers (2014-15), Blue Jays (2015), and Red Sox (2016-19), going 150-80 with a 3.31 ERA (746 ER/2,029.2 IP) and 1,981 strikeouts.
Price helped Boston win the 2018 World Series, notably winning the clinching game of the ALCS against the Astros and the clinching game of the Fall Classic against the Dodgers.
Verdugo, 23, hit .294 (101-for-343) with an .817 OPS, 22 doubles, and 12 home runs in 106 games with the Dodgers in 2019, as he was worth 3.1 wins above replacement, according to Baseball-Reference. He made 52 starts in center field, 16 in right field, and 14 in left field, recording six outfield assists.
Selected by Los Angeles in the second round of the 2014 June Draft, he has batted .321 (249-for-776) in 208 career games at the Triple-A level, earning Pacific Coast League mid-season All-Star honors in 2017 and 2018. A native of Tucson, AZ, Verdugo played for Team Mexico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic and went 5-for-14 (.357) in three games with the club. He entered the 2019 season ranked by MLB.com as the Dodgers’ top prospect.
Downs, 21, was ranked by Baseball America as the Dodgers’ No. 6 prospect entering the 2020 season. The right-handed hitter spent his first two professional seasons in the Reds organization after signing with Cincinnati as the 32nd overall selection in the 2017 June Draft.
Acquired by the Dodgers in December 2018, he split the 2019 season between High-A Rancho Cucamonga (107 games) and Double-A Tulsa (12 games) and hit .276 (127-for-460) with an .888 OPS, 35 doubles, 24 home runs, 24 stolen bases, 86 RBI, and 92 runs scored. Last season, Downs was one of only 10 minor league players with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Born in San Andres, Colombia, he has made 189 starts at shortstop and 82 at second base in his minor league career.
Wong, 23, made his Double-A debut in 2019, batting .349 (52-for-149) with a .997 OPS in 40 games with Tulsa. In 111 games between Tulsa and High-A Rancho Cucamonga, he hit 24 home runs with 82 RBI and 11 stolen bases.
Named a California League mid-season All-Star in both 2018 and 2019, Wong was selected by the Dodgers in the third round of the 2017 June Draft. In 241 career minor league games, the right-handed hitter has batted .275 (249-for-904) with 48 home runs and an .852 OPS. A native of Houston, TX, he has made 176 starts at catcher, 22 at second base, and eight at third base, throwing out 66 of 210 (31.4%) runners attempting to steal.
BOSTON RED SOX 40-MAN ROSTER is at (39):
PITCHERS (22): Yoan Aybar, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer, Austin Brice, Nathan Eovaldi, Matt Hall, Kyle Hart, Heath Hembree, Darwinzon Hernandez, Chris Mazza, Josh Osich, Martín Pérez, Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, Mike Shawaryn, Jeffrey Springs, Josh Taylor, Hector Velázquez, Marcus Walden, Ryan Weber, Brandon Workman
CATCHERS (2): Kevin Plawecki, Christian Vázquez
INFIELDERS (10): Jonathan Arauz, Xander Bogaerts, C.J. Chatham, Michael Chavis, Bobby Dalbec, Rafael Devers, Tzu-Wei Lin, Mitch Moreland, Dustin Pedroia, José Peraza
OUTFIELDERS (5): Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., J.D. Martinez (DH), Alex Verdugo, Marcus Wilson