While most still believe the three-team mega-deal involving a Mookie Betts move from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers will go through, the state of limbo is ruffling feathers.
To recap, the three-team mega-deal in question involves the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Minnesota Twins. In short, the Dodgers hope to get outfielder Boston's Mookie Betts, pitcher David Price, and cash considerations. The Boston Red Sox hope to get outfielder Alex Verdugo from LA, as well as pitcher and MLB Top 100 prospect Brusdar Graterol from the Twins. The Twins would get pitcher Kenta Maeda from the Dodgers. The deal is enough to make your head spin, and the hold-up is not making anyone happy.
Betts, a hometown product, has already said he isn't happy to be moving on from Boston in the first place. ESPN reported that Tony Clark, Director of the MLB Player's Association, isn't at all pleased with the uncertain state of the three-way deal.
"The proposed trades between the Dodgers, Red Sox, Twins, and Angels need to be resolved without further delay," Clark said. "The events of this last week have unfairly put several Players' lives in a state of limbo. The unethical leaking of medical information as well as the perversion of the salary arbitration process serve as continued reminders that too often Players are treated as commodities by those running the game."
The given reason for the delay is a supposed medical concern with the arm of prospect Brusdar Graterol. As reported by the Boston Globe, mega-agent Scott Boras questioned the validity of such concerns.
"To suggest that this player is not healthy going forward, or has any form of substantive medical defect that would in any way damage his career, all of that is false. This is a scant supposition created by medical review, by someone who has never seen him physically,”
Despite what Clark or Boras think, Boston certainly has a right to hold up such a deal if they have legitimate concerns about Graterol's arm health. The young prospect was just 18 when he underwent surgery on his shoulder in 2016. Graterol returned quickly, however, and by the middle of the 2017 season, the Venezuelan flamethrower was hitting speeds as high as 100 mph in the minors. The concern seems to come from Graterol being moved to the bullpen after experiencing some shoulder soreness.
Gaterol's 2019 MLB prospect data has made scouts drool with anticipation, with the youngster impressing time and again on the mound:
Graterol's stuff continues to get better the more he matures and the further removed from surgery he gets. His fastball touches triple digits and will often sit in the 96-98 mph range, with an ability to maintain velocity deep into starts. Throwing with plenty of sink, Graterol misses bats and gets a ton of ground-ball outs off of his fastball. When he committed to throw the harder version of his slider, in the 87-89 mph range, it trended toward plus, but he would back off of it at times. Continued separation between that and his slower curve will help, as will further refinement of his changeup.
MLB Insider Jon Heyman noted that the Red Sox and Dodgers might be looking at ways to get this deal done without the Twins involved, or perhaps by using some other team to finalize the deal.
It's difficult to know what Boston is thinking at this point, but with frustration rising for the likes of Scott Boras, Tony Clark, the fans, and undoubtedly the players involved, it's high time the three squads sort this trade out, or abandon it altogether.