Dodgers rework 3-team trade for Betts/Price, now also getting Graterol and sending Downs/Wong

Almost a week ago, the Dodgers completed a three-team trade with the Red Sox and Twins that saw Mookie Betts, David Price, and cash headed to the Dodgers, Alex Verdugo and Brusdar Graterol headed to the Red Sox, and Kenta Maeda going to the Twins.

Unfortunately, things stalled due to the Red Sox reportedly having concerns about Graterol’s health — or more likely they got a lot of backlash and then decided to get a better deal — which led to them wanting to rework the deal. Things seemed rather dire as recently as yesterday, but the teams have now agreed to rework the trade. It is effectively two separate trades now, with the changes being the Dodgers keeping Graterol plus getting prospect Luke Raley and the 67th pick in the 2020 MLB Draft from the Twins, while sending prospects Jeter Downs and Connor Wong to the Red Sox and prospect Jair Camargo to the Twins along with $10 million in cash.

Alright, let’s sum all of this up.

Dodgers: Mookie Betts, David Price, Brusdar Graterol, Luke Raley, 67th Pick In 2020 MLB Draft, $48 Million

Red Sox: Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, Connor Wong

Twins: Kenta Maeda, Jair Camargo, $10 Million

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The write-up of Betts, Price, Verdugo, and Maeda remains accurate, but the biggest difference is the Dodgers deciding to just take Graterol, which might be my genius idea fault.

Graterol is a 21-year-old right-handed pitcher that made it to the majors in 2019. He posted a 4.66 ERA with a 10/2 K/BB ratio in 9.2 innings after blitzing through the minors to the tune of a 1.92 ERA in 61 innings with 61 strikeouts and 23 walks.

He’s rated as the #32 prospect in in baseball by Baseball Prospectus, #60 by Baseball America, and #83 by MLB Pipeline. In the Twins system he was their #2 prospect by Baseball Prospectus, #3 by MLB Pipeline, and #4 by Baseball America. While he has starting potential and should probably be tried there, a relief future definitely seems probable.

In the pen he showed an 80-grade sinker that routinely hit triple digits and featured patently unfair movement. There’s a slider that he ramps up into the low 90s and it’s a potential plus-plus offering as well. It’s one of the best two-pitch combos you will find among prospect arms, and there’s only a handful of major-league arms who can boast something better.

Come October, Graterol might be exactly what the Dodgers need.

A taste of that elite sinker? Sure.

That’ll work.

His current mix is intriguing.

Raley is a 25-year-old outfielder that was formerly with the Dodgers and traded for Brian Dozier in 2018. He can hit, putting up a .302/.362/.516/.878 line in the minors last year, but it also came with a ~30% strikeout rate and ~5% walk rate. Not likely to be much here other than organizational depth, though with the Dodgers anything is possible.

As far as the 67th pick in the upcoming 2020 MLB Draft goes, it could turn out to be quite valuable given the depth of this draft.

Downs is a shortstop prospect that broke out last year and is ranked as the #44 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline and #86 by Baseball America. He is also ranked #5 by MLB Pipeline in the Dodgers system, #6 by Baseball America, and #8 by Baseball Prospectus. Downs has a good chance to continue to rise and become a regular, but the Dodgers themselves are unlikely to miss him as he was blocked by Corey Seager and Gavin Lux. Still, his inclusion definitely represents the Dodgers paying in value and makes the return end up as something more appropriate for a trade like this.

The same principle of trading from depth applies to the versatile catcher Wong, who ranks as the #16 prospect in the Dodgers system by Baseball Prospectus and #28 by MLB Pipeline. He certainly seems like a potential MLB contributor, but for the Dodgers he’s also currently behind Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz — and was likely to be passed soon by Diego Cartaya as well — so again the Dodgers are unlikely to miss him.

Camargo is a 20-year-old catcher who hit just .236/.301/.342/.642 in A-ball last year in his age-19 season. Doesn’t seem like much of a loss on the surface, but his struggles so far are understandable and his tools are apparently quite loud. Could potentially become a solid prospect soon.

As far as the $10 million they are sending to the Twins, it seems like that’s a literal Dodgers tax or something.

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In the end, it’s entirely possible that the revised trade may work out better for the Dodgers if Graterol can stay healthy, though that’s a major question mark as he’s already had Tommy John surgery before and had a shoulder impingement last year. Still, the Dodgers will likely need potential back-end pen help at some point in 2020 and they may have just got it in Graterol for the next six seasons instead of having to deal further prospects for it while having less leverage at the deadline.

The upgraded price has made the trade less of a laughable win for the Dodgers as it now carries more risk, but they still traded almost entirely from their depth and upgraded their present roster without really impacting their long-term viability, so it’s difficult to find much to complain about even after the rework.

I mean, Mookie Betts is still a Dodger, after all.

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About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times