The possibility of Francisco Lindor joining the Dodgers has tantalized the baseball industry for the past few months, as observers wonder how emotionally -- or logically -- the Dodgers will respond to their latest October disappointment.
But as the New Year begins, sources say discussions between the Dodgers and Indians remain in roughly the same place they’ve been throughout the offseason: The Indians want infielder Gavin Lux to be part of the Lindor trade, and the Dodgers have refused to include him in any offer for Lindor alone.
As a result, sources say the Dodgers’ negotiations with the Red Sox about acquiring Mookie Betts have become at least as frequent -- and perhaps even more involved -- than their talks with the Indians about Lindor.
The Dodgers’ conversations with the Red Sox are said to be more dynamic than the Dodgers-Indians talks, because Boston appears less insistent on Lux. Also, there exists a very real possibility that a Dodgers-Red Sox deal would include multiple players heading to Los Angeles.
Along with the Dodgers’ desire for an impactful right-handed bat, they would like to add a proven starting pitcher to replace some of the 42 starts they lost with the free-agent departures of Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill. Boston left-hander David Price, who pitched for Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman in Tampa Bay, is one such possibility.
Price is owed $96 million over the next three seasons. The Red Sox would like to trim that sum from their current and future obligations -- so much so that they may find suitable value in a trade with the Dodgers that does not include Lux.
Still, new Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom is unlikely to part with a former MVP (Betts) and a former Cy Young Award winner (Price) in his first major move if salary relief is the only benefit. Boston likely would ask that one young starting pitcher, Dustin May or Tony Gonsolin, be part of the trade.
One added layer of intrigue: If Dodgers-Red Sox talks gain momentum, Friedman and Bloom will be on opposite ends of a blockbuster negotiation -- roughly 15 years after Friedman hired Bloom to work for the Rays soon after Bloom’s graduation from Yale.
The Dodgers and Red Sox shared significant history over the last decade: A 2012 blockbuster trade between the teams included roughly $250 million in salary obligations moving from Boston to Los Angeles. Six years later, the Red Sox defeated the Dodgers to win the 2018 World Series.