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Inbox: What happens if LA trades for Betts?

@kengurnick
January 31, 2020

LOS ANGELES -- Sorry, I don’t know if the Red Sox will trade Mookie Betts to the Dodgers. What I do know is the following: In trade negotiations, is there any way the Dodgers can have the Red Sox inquire of Betts’ openness to a contract extension for the Dodgers?

LOS ANGELES -- Sorry, I don’t know if the Red Sox will trade Mookie Betts to the Dodgers. What I do know is the following:

In trade negotiations, is there any way the Dodgers can have the Red Sox inquire of Betts’ openness to a contract extension for the Dodgers?
-- @AmoreSports on Twitter

If that was the Dodgers’ intent, it would be part of the negotiations and would influence the return price. But based on the five years of the Andrew Friedman regime in Los Angeles, there is no reason to believe this franchise has any interest in giving Betts a decade-long contract worth $400 million, which is what Betts wants and what has the Red Sox willing to trade him in the first place. From all indications, Betts is strictly a one-year rental, and solving for the right return price for a one-year rental is the real obstacle to any deal with any club.

Why does it seem like the Dodgers are ready to stay with their squad they have now instead of going out to improve it?
-- @Charzaku360403

Not sure they are “ready” to stay with their current squad, but they still are in the National League West and they won the division by 21 games -- so it’s not like they need Mookie Betts or Kris Bryant to start the 2020 season. To the argument that they don’t have a squad that can win a World Series, that’s what the Trade Deadline is for. Injuries happen, players become available that aren’t available today, and by the middle of the season the Dodgers might have a real need that isn’t currently apparent.

Who will be on L.A.'s Opening Day roster?

Will Alex Verdugo be ready in time for Opening Day?
-- @NocturnalGamin4

This might be the biggest question for the Dodgers entering Spring Training. Although he’s been rehabbing in Arizona with a vaguely described back/core injury, the last we heard, Verdugo hadn’t resumed baseball activity. While his name has reportedly been prominent in the Betts trade talks, it’s hard to imagine a club making him the return centerpiece in such a big a trade without seeing him in game action. And for an injury that was initially believed to be minor, it seems to have turned out to be significantly more.

What role could we expect out of a healthy Jimmy Nelson?
-- @joshbanks903

He’s pitched 22 innings since 2017, so it’s hard to slot Nelson into a full-time starting role. Although he’s rarely relieved, at Fanfest, Nelson said he’s fine with a long relief role if that’s how things shake out. Like Ross Stripling, Alex Wood and Julio Urías, a healthy Nelson could be valuable starting or relieving.

For a team that continues to search and try out different pitchers for their bullpen, I was surprised the Dodgers were so willing to take Casey Sadler off of the 40-man roster when last season he had a combined (between the Rays and Dodgers) 2.14 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 31 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings. Why did they?
-- Steve W.

Sadler is out of options and can’t be shuttled back and forth between the Majors and Triple-A, which apparently was his ceiling in the eyes of role management. The Dodgers generally keep younger pitchers with options for that role, like Caleb Ferguson or Josh Sborz.

Can we get an update on Andrew Toles?
-- @jak23xf

Unfortunately, there is no new information about Toles, the talented outfielder who missed the 2019 season with personal issues. He remains on the restricted list and the Dodgers are not expecting him at Spring Training.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.