With the Red Sox failing to come to an agreement on a long term contract for Betts, it was thought that he would be heading out west, with the only other team really involved in talks being the San Diego Padres. The Red Sox received a package in return that includes outfielder Alex Verdugo, as Boston gets ready for a team that will look much different next season. The team already parted ways with manager Alex Cora this off-season amid the cheating scandal including the Houston Astros.
The former American League MVP Betts is coming off a season that saw him bat .295 and finish eighth in the AL MVP voting. He won the award in the 2018 season, when the Red Sox beat the Dodgers in the World Series. That has since been haunted with the fact that the Red Sox used the same system that the Astros used the previous season to cheat their way past the Dodgers in October. Despite that, Betts did bat an impressive .346 with 32 home runs and 80 RBIs en route to the award that season. He drove in 80 runs this past season as well with 29 long balls.
The 27-year-old is only under contract through the 2020 season, as his next contract could see him earn up to $400 million, assuming he stays healthy and continues to produce. Price on the other hand has three years and $96 million left on his current contract. Since being a Cy Young winner with the Tampa Bay Rays, Price as struggled to be consistently productive or healthy in Boston, mixing in two sub-par seasons with 17-win and 16-win campaigns in Beantown, so it is unknown what Los Angeles will receive from him. Betts now joins a starting lineup that includes Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Will Smith, and Corey Seager. And the Dodgers pulled this off to overcome a slow off-season that saw them miss out on Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, and Anthony Rendon.
To get this deal done, the Dodgers had to move on from multiple pieces, including Maeda, who spent four seasons with them. In those four years, the right-handed pitcher went 47-35 with a 3.87 ERA, posting double digit win totals in three of his four years with them. In a separate deal, the Dodgers also sent outfielder Joc Pederson to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for infielder Luis Rengifo. That trade is pending medical reviews as well, and is expected to include more players once the medical tests have come and gone. Pederson played a big role in the Dodgers' record-breaking home run hitting season with 36 of them in 2019, and he had 126 of them in his six seasons, reaching at least 25 homers in four of those years. Rengifo became a more consistent piece in his rookie season of 2019, batting .238 with seven home runs and 33 RBIs for the Angels.
That separate trade was a move to make more room for Betts, both money-wise and in the outfield. The Dodgers do hope to keep Betts long term, but they will have to focus on that after this season. This move could be enough to make them a World Series favorite yet again under manager Dave Roberts, but the questionable starting rotation may still hold them back come October.