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7 winners from Mookie Betts trade fallout

@RichardJustice
February 6, 2020

Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger together. Joc Pederson joining Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. Kenta Maeda sliding into the Twins' rotation behind José Berríos and Jake Odorizzi. Got all that? You probably don’t. Nor should you be expected to. How about we all take a deep breath and push the

Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger together. Joc Pederson joining Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. Kenta Maeda sliding into the Twins' rotation behind José Berríos and Jake Odorizzi.

Got all that? You probably don’t. Nor should you be expected to. How about we all take a deep breath and push the pause button on an amazing offseason? Because it does not get any better than this.

Here’s the player movement after the three-team deal between the Dodgers, Red Sox and Twins, along with Los Angeles' subsequent deal with the Angels. The pair of trades involved eight players (although that could change), which resulted in the following new addresses:

DODGERS: OF Mookie Betts, LHP David Price, IF Luis Rengifo
RED SOX: OF Alex Verdugo, RHP Brusdar Graterol
TWINS: RHP Kenta Maeda
ANGELS: OF Joc Pederson, RHP Ross Stripling

The Red Sox's decision to trade Betts, the 2018 American League MVP Award winner, to the Dodgers is the kind of stunning trade -- stunning even though we’d been hearing for days it could happen -- that we can dissect and debate for weeks. On this day, at least four division races have been significantly impacted by the comings and goings.

Winners? We’ve got a few:

1. The Dodgers' lineup ... and their fans
In pairing Betts with Bellinger, the 2019 National League MVP Award winner, the Dodgers have two of the five best players in baseball. These two are so good that they’ll impact every other player on the roster, regardless of position, and make this one of the most entertaining duos the game has seen.

Baseball reacts to Betts blockbuster

And they’ll make the hitters in front of, and behind, them better and give the pitching staff some important breathing room.

2. The Angels' postseason hopes
Pederson's and Stripling’s arrivals are the finishing touches of a great offseason for the Angels. First, they signed the second-best free agent on the market in Rendon. Then, they upgraded the rotation with the acquisitions of Julio Teheran, Dylan Bundy, Matt Andriese and now Stripling.

An outfield of Trout, Justin Upton and Pederson is as good as almost any, and if Shohei Ohtani stays healthy, the Angels should close the gap on the Astros and A’s in the AL West. Additionally, a seemingly weakened Red Sox squad only boosts the Halos' Wild Card chances.

3. The Twins' pitching staff
Third baseman Josh Donaldson is the marquee acquisition, but Minnesota has upgraded the quality and depth of its rotation by adding Maeda, Homer Bailey and Rich Hill. A rotation front three of Berríos, Odorizzi and Maeda nicely positions the Twins to win a second straight AL Central.

Maeda has also shown an ability to transition seamlessly to the bullpen in October (1.64 ERA in 21 total appearances as a reliever the last three postseasons), a trait that could come in handy again.

4. The Rays' AL East odds
Tampa Bay may already have been the team most likely to challenge New York in the AL East, but Boston’s decision to trade Betts and Price solidifies that position. MLB’s most resourceful front office has one of the three or four best pitching staffs while continuing to mix and match enough offensive parts for a second straight postseason appearance.

5. Mookie’s star power
Betts is entering his contract year as a 27-year-old transformative star capable of impacting games with his bat, glove and legs. He’s that guy who plays with the kind of energy and joy that will bring those 50,000 fans at Dodger Stadium to their feet.

History provides precedent for MVP trades

Betts is also a right-handed hitter on a team that batted .186 against lefties in the 2019 postseason.

6. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman
This was the moment that Friedman had prepared for from the day he arrived from Tampa Bay five-plus years ago. He has hoarded prospects and spent cautiously as the Dodgers extended their string of NL West championships to seven.

What the Dodgers haven’t done since 1988 is win a World Series, and Friedman’s goal was to add a breakthrough kind of player. Betts fits that description.

7. The White Sox mojo
The White Sox -- along with the aforementioned Angels, Rays and others -- saw their postseason chances improve with Betts and Price going to the NL. To write off the Red Sox in 2020 is silly. Verdugo has a chance to be a star, and there was enough uncertainty about Price’s health to make his productivity a question.

But the White Sox have worked furiously to position themselves to make the postseason in 2020, and even with the Twins adding another arm, the uncertainty surrounding the Red Sox should increase Chicago's optimism. The AL Wild Card spots are wide open.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.