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The case for the Red Sox trading Mookie Betts: Examining Boston's two paths forward

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What will the Red Sox do with Mookie Betts? (2:25)

Jeff Passan and Keith Law discuss the tough dilemma facing the Red Sox this offseason: Will they keep Mookie Betts or trade him for more pitching? (2:25)

This year's tepid MLB stove season is dominated by talk of whether contending teams in Boston and Cleveland, both of which won their divisions in 2018 but missed the playoffs in 2019, might trade their best players -- Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor, respectively -- now, before they reach free agency (next November for Betts and the following offseason for Lindor). Cleveland's financial picture is its own set of problems, but Boston should have no issue whatsoever paying Betts -- who seems to want to go to free agency -- $30-plus million a year to spend the rest of his prime years with the Red Sox. There is, however, an argument for trading Betts now to address the organizational deficiency in starting pitching, even though it would mean trading their best and perhaps most popular player.

The Red Sox are not in a great competitive position right now; their rotation for 2020 depends on two veterans, Chris Sale and David Price, whose health and durability are both gigantic questions. Neither threw 150 innings last season; both had the worst ERAs of their careers and both ended the year on the injured list. Their healthy returning starters are Eduardo Rodriguez and ... Nathan Eovaldi, if you are an optimist. The Red Sox had a 4.70 ERA last year, putting them at the league median, and would project to worse than that in 2020 unless they bring in a lot of outside help.