Scratch Mookie Betts from your wish list, as the star Red Sox outfielder was dealt to the Dodgers in a collection of at least two deals involving four teams.
Earlier this offseason, the Red Sox hired Chaim Bloom from the Rays to run their front office. If Bloom’s name sounds familiar, he was one of the three finalists for the Mets’ GM job following the 2018 season.
The theory is that Bloom was bypassed because he wanted to do some sort of rebuild, like he’s now doing in Boston. The Wilpons wanted someone to come in and make the moves to compete right away.
It was pretty amazing that Bloom was able to get rid of both Betts and David Price (well, half of Price, as Boston is still on the hook for 1/2 of his remaining salary) yet still get one of the game’s top young prospects in Alex Verdugo and an upside pitching prospect in Brusdal Graterol.
Last year, Graterol spent time with four different teams, ending his year in the majors with the Twins. He spent the most time in Double-A, where he went 6-0 with a 1.71 ERA. There are questions if Graterol can hack it as a starting pitcher. But few doubt he’s an MLB player.
So, Bloom cuts $74.5 million dollars from his payroll. Betts had already rejected a long-term deal from Boston. The chances he was re-signing with the club after this year were very low. Maybe Bloom could have gotten more if he just dealt Betts. But let’s not pretend that getting out from $47.5 million of Price’s contract was insignificant.
Price turned 34 late in the 2019 season and his last five starts of the year were terrible. Maybe he’s got something left – he was pretty good the first 17 starts of 2019 – but it’s unlikely he was going to turn back into the guy from 2015, much less the one from 2012.
So, did the Mets screw up big time by not hiring Bloom? Probably, yeah. They certainly would still have Justin Dunn and Jarred Kelenic and probably Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson, too. Maybe they wouldn’t have won 86 games last year. Maybe they’ll be better in 2020 under Brodie Van Wagenen then they would have been under Bloom. But 2021 and beyond could have been a different beast.
It will be fascinating to watch the results of the Mets and Red Sox the next five years. In a way, Mets fans will get to see two different theories work out in real time. There’s Van Wagenen and the “go for it” route they took in real life. And there’s the path not taken with Bloom, which instead we’ll see play out with the Red Sox.