Mookie Betts almost found his way to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the middle of last season.
The Mookie Betts trade saga has another chapter. Before a whirlwind of negotiations during the offseason, a failed trade, and a re-negotiated one, Los Angeles Dodgers president Andrew Friedman was hoping to acquire the former American League MVP in a blockbuster deal leading up to the 2019 trade deadline.
The Dodgers won 106 games last season, and looked primed to end their 31-year championship drought at the time, but ran into a Washington Nationals team that became the eventual World Series champions.
Mookie Betts might have been shipped to the Dodgers if the Red Sox had lost a crucial series before the 2019 trade deadline.
According to The Athletic, Friedman had been discussing the parameters of a deal to acquire Betts leading up to a critical series the Red Sox had toward the end of July against Tampa Bay.
After losing two of three to the lowly Orioles, Boston’s season seemed on the brink of collapse. They were 11 games back of the New York Yankees and 3.5 games back of the Oakland Athletics for the final Wild Card spot.
However, once the Red Sox won two of three from Tampa, and then three out of four from the Yankees, it was clear the Sox weren’t ready to sell-off their best player.
Of course, the Dodgers would end up acquiring Betts during the offseason, but it’s fascinating to think about what could have been had Friedman been able to seal the deal with Red Sox general manager Dave Dombroski in July.
As the 2020 season is in peril due to the coronavirus pandemic, many worry the season could ultimately be canceled, which would mean Betts might never suit up in Dodger blue before becoming a free agent this offseason. Such a scenario would be a gut-punch to the Dodgers who traded Alex Verdugo and two young prospects for essentially nothing other than a photo-op with Betts at Dodger Stadium.
A lost season could also significantly impact the free agency market Betts enters, perhaps costing the outfielder millions of dollars on a long-term contract.
Had the Dodgers acquired Betts last season, they would have at least received one run at a World Series title with the superstar in their lineup. It remains to be seen if they will get an opportunity to deploy his services this season.