The story so far:
• The Red Sox, eager to unload salary and get under the luxury tax threshold, are trying to send 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts and All-Star lefthander David Price to the Dodgers. Betts, due $27 million in 2020, will be a free agent following the season. Price has three years and $96 million left on his contract.
• The Dodgers gave up young outfielder Alex Verdugo, who missed the final two months of last season because of core muscle issues, to the Red Sox.
• To make the deal work, Los Angeles proposed sending starting pitcher Kenta Maeda to the Twins, who then would dispatch 21-year-old top pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol to the Red Sox. Graterol made his major league debut last season. The Twins were projecting him as a reliever, although the Red Sox eyed him as a future starter.
• A major league source has confirmed the Red Sox, after viewing Graterol’s medical records, put a delay in the trade. It is unclear if they would like more compensation from the Twins or the Dodgers. Verdugo’s medical issues are not a problem.
• The commissioner’s office must approve the trade because the Red Sox intend to pay a large part of Price’s salary.
• Graterol missed 2½ months last season because of a shoulder impingement. He also had elbow surgery in 2016 that sidelined him for 15 months as a teenager, but he returned in 2017 with a fastball that hit 100 mph. He pitched 102 innings in 2018 and 61 in 2019 ... as a starter, he’d have to increase that to around 200 innings. If the Red Sox feel he’s a reliever, not a starter, that could make him less valuable in the deal.
• And ... the Red Sox are being savaged by media and fans for giving up on the 2020 season. The team is under investigation for alleged sign stealing under manager Alex Cora, who was fired last month. Boston is without a manager as spring training begins next week.
• After believing they were acquiring Betts, the Dodgers sent outfielder Joc Pederson and All-Star pitcher Ross Stripling to the Angels for young second baseman Luis Rengifo (with other prospects on both sides reportedly involved). That deal has not been made official yet either; Pederson has an arbitration hearing decision due today that will clear up his salary number.
• We’ll probably find out soon if either the Twins or Dodgers have to pony up another prospect or if the trade will fall through. There have been some big-name trades that almost happened, and some that fell through because of medical issues.
• Graterol remains in limbo in Fort Myers. None of the players involved have been notified of the trade by their teams.
• If the deal does fall apart -- which most people think unlikely -- would the Twins feel obligated to add another prospect in the mix, or simply say "Hey, we'll keep Graterol then," and walk away?
photo of Brusdar Graterol by Aaron Lavinsky firstname.lastname@example.org