MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Moving Mookie Betts out of Boston proved to be quite the task for the cost-cutting Red Sox.
The trade wound up taking all week — and being divvied into two different deals.
The Minnesota Twins agreed Sunday to send bullpen prospect Brusdar Graterol to the Los Angeles Dodgers for starting pitcher Kenta Maeda, according to a person with direct knowledge of the deal, five days after the initial Betts-headlined trade with the Red Sox was held up.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deals had not yet been announced. The Twins also agreed to send one of their draft picks in the competitive balance round this summer — 67th overall — and a minor leaguer to the Dodgers for $10 million and a minor leaguer to settled their portion of the trade.
Graterol was first headed for the Red Sox as part of a three-team swap agreed to Tuesday that moved Betts, a four-time All-Star, and starting pitcher David Price to the Dodgers. But the Red Sox, as first reported by The Athletic, raised questions about the health of the hard-throwing Graterol's arm.
The resulting renegotiation was resolved with the Red Sox and Dodgers conducting their own trade involving Betts and Price. The Twins and Dodgers technically now have a separate deal, the person said. The trades, of course, are subject to medical reviews before finalization.
The 21-year-old Graterol, who can touch triple digits on the radar gun with his fastball, missed time last season for Double-A Pensacola with a shoulder injury. The right-hander recovered in time to make his major league debut with the Twins and pitch in the postseason. The Twins confirmed last month their intent to focus on developing him as a reliever, rather than a starter.
Maeda, who spent his first four major league seasons with the Dodgers after coming over from Japan, likely will slide into the middle of Minnesota's rotation. The right-hander has a 3.87 ERA with 641 strikeouts in 589 career innings, including some late-season and postseason stints in relief.
Maeda made 103 starts over the last four seasons for the Dodgers, but their deep rotation allowed them to put him in the bullpen occasionally, too, and his desire has been to be a full-time starter. The 31-year-old didn’t make his major league debut until age 27 when he came over from the Hiroshima Carp. His $25 million, eight-year contract was written heavily with incentives that could make it worth as much as $106.2 million. That's because the Dodgers discovered in his physical at the time “irregularities" in his elbow.
Maeda's deal entitles him to $6.5 million annually based on starts: $1 million each for 15 and 20, and $1.5 million apiece for 25, 30 and 32 starts. He can earn $3.5 million annually based on innings pitched: $250,000 for 90 and each additional 10 through 190, and $750,000 for 200. The deal includes a $1 million assignment bonus each time he is traded.
To build their rotation behind ace José Berríos, the Twins re-signed Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda earlier this winter and signed free agents Homer Bailey and Rich Hill. Pineda can’t pitch until mid-May because of a remaining suspension for a banned diuretic, and Hill won’t be ready until mid-summer after elbow surgery. Maeda’s arrival, then, will significantly reduce the number of starts the Twins will have to give to more inexperienced candidates. Randy Dobnak, Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe, who all debuted as rookies last year, will be given the longest looks in spring training.
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