It’s been a couple days now since the Dodgers agreed to acquire Mookie Betts, David Price, and cash from the Red Sox in a deal that looped in the Twins to add pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol. But the deal is not complete yet, apparently because of Graterol’s medical review.
Sounds like the Red Sox thought they could have the fireballing youngster go back to starting, but that might not be possible, and it’s mucked up the whole trade:
Blockbuster update: Red Sox viewed Brusdar Graterol's medicals and "projected him more as a reliever than a starter," per @Ken_Rosenthal. Sox might ask for additional player or money.
Teams "confident the deal will be completed, but perhaps not in its original reported form."
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) February 6, 2020
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 6, 2020
Old cliche that applies as the Mookie Betts blockbuster is held up due to questions about Brusdar Graterol's arm (https://t.co/U8VRpHaCCE): It's tough to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Boston was convinced its future was better with a Betts deal. This shouldn't change that.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 6, 2020
Graterol, 21, has had Tommy John surgery and dealt with some shoulder issues this past year, so it’s hard to say exactly what it was in the review that concerned the Red Sox (or whether they’re just trying to grab a little extra leverage after seeing the public reaction to the deal).
It sounds like all still expect some version of the trade to happen, but it might require a prospect or cash adjustment, or might even lead to Graterol – who came from the Twins, who were receiving Kenta Maeda – being replaced in the trade altogether. I really doubt the Dodgers or Red Sox want this thing to fall apart at this stage.
Note that a separate, but connected, deal between the Dodgers and Angels – Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling for prospects – is being held up now, too. It’s not at all hard to see the tentacles from this thing spreading out throughout the trade market a bit until it is completed. While I don’t think there’s a direct impact on ongoing Kris Bryant trade talks, it is notable that Dave Kaplan reported teams reached back out to the Cubs with offers after the Betts trade was agreed to. So I’ll admit what I don’t know (I guess it’s conceivable that the Dodgers and Padres could view Bryant as a back-up plan), and I’ll say I guess it’s possible there’s some connection here. More likely, though, is that a Bryant trade is still highly unlikely, irrespective of what might happen with the Betts deal.
That said … maybe let’s get that Betts deal wrapped up quickly so that, in the event there’s a connection, the Cubs can explore whatever there is to explore, and put that all to bed one way or another before position players report to Spring Training next week.
UPDATE: It’s been an entire extra day, which likely included feverish deal modification negotiations … that have proven not yet successful:
Red Sox are said to be trying to reconfigure the part of the Betts 3-team deal with the Twins (meaning more than Graterol). While there’s still hope the mega deal gets done in some form, some involved are now suggesting it’s not a certainty.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 7, 2020
The fact that anyone close to the deal is even HINTING at the possibility it might not get done is extremely wild to me. You can’t just go through this process and then, what, try to accept Betts back on the team with open arms? And the Dodgers accept Joc Pederson back? This is nuts.
And if the deal were somehow to completely collapse, what happens to the Dodgers’ plans to add a bat and an arm? Do they just give that up, or do they turn to another option?
I still think – based on nothing more than the toothpaste being so far out of the tube – that some version of the trade gets done. But it’s already been over two days since word of the trade broke, and they have presumably been negotiating on how to resolve the Graterol issue for much of that time. And it’s still not done, so …
UPDATE 2: This is just a more optimistic way of saying, yeah, there’s a chance this thing doesn’t happen:
Source familiar with the three-way Boston/Los Angeles/Minnesota trade said the sides are “making progress,” and while a deal isn’t likely to be finalized any earlier than Friday, it’s still “more likely to happen than not.”
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) February 7, 2020
I’m sure it’s complicated as hell to rework a deal involving three teams and these levels of players, and that goes double when the cats are out of the bag and now all three teams want to play a game of chicken, not believing that the others could possibly stomach letting this thing die. Hey, that’s two animal metaphors in one sentence!