FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Mookie Betts and David Price are Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Boston Red Sox are tax dodgers.
Boston and Los Angeles finalized the on-again, off-again deal Monday night that will send the 2018 A.L. MVP and 2012 A.L. Cy Young Award winner to the West Coast — just hours before the Red Sox are scheduled to open spring training.
The Dodgers hope the players will be the missing pieces after seven straight division championships all ended short of their first World Series title since 1988. The Red Sox have already achieved their biggest goal of the offseason: ditching more than $70 million in salary to get under baseball's collective bargaining tax threshold for 2020.
"Our mission, our charge as a department is to compete consistently year-in and year-out, and to put ourselves in position to win as many championships as we can," Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said. "That's behind everything that we do. And we can only accomplish that goal with a talent base at all levels of the org that is deep, broad and sustainable."
The Red Sox acquired outfielder Alex Verdugo and two prospects: infielder Jeter Downs and catcher Connor Wong. According to a person with knowledge of the deal, Boston will send cash to the Dodgers, reportedly half of the $96 million owed for the next three seasons. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the financial terms were not public.
The Red Sox agreed to deal Betts and Price to the Dodgers last week, as part of a three-team swap that was to send Twins bullpen prospect Brusdar Graterol to the Red Sox and Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda to Minnesota. The Red Sox hesitated out of concern about Graterol's medical review, however, and the Twins and Dodgers eventually worked out their own deal. The Maeda-Graterol trade was also finalized Monday night.
In order to make room on their 40-man roster, the Dodgers designated infielder Tyler White and outfielder Kyle Garlick for assignment.
In five full major league seasons, the 27-year-old Betts has received MVP votes five times, finishing as runner-up once and winning the A.L. honor in 2018; he is a four-time Gold Glove winner.
But he will earn $27 million this season, the last before he is eligible for free agency, and he has already turned down a nine-figure extension.
Price, 34, is a two-time Cy Young runner-up and 2012 winner. He was also the runner-up for the World Series MVP when the Red Sox beat the Dodgers in 2018 after their franchise-record 108 regular-season victories.