Baseball’s blockbuster trade is finally official with the key addition of Dodgers’ shortstop Jeter Downs. Downs, MLB.com’s No. 44 overall prospect, and catcher Connor Wong were added to the deal that sends 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts, left-hander David Price and cash from the Red Sox to the Dodgers. The trade was finalized
Baseball’s blockbuster trade is finally official with the key addition of Dodgers’ shortstop Jeter Downs.
Downs, MLB.com’s No. 44 overall prospect, and catcher Connor Wong were added to the deal that sends 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts, left-hander David Price and cash from the Red Sox to the Dodgers. The trade was finalized six days after an initial deal was struck last Tuesday but which fell apart after the Twins reportedly pulled out of what was supposed to be a three-team agreement.
Drafted 32nd overall by the Reds in 2017, Downs was sent to Los Angeles in the December 2018 trade centered around outfielder Yasiel Puig. He spent most of his only year in the Dodgers organization at Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, where he stole 23 bases and hit .269/.354/.507 with 19 home runs and 33 doubles in 412 at-bats. The 21-year-old batted .333 in 12 regular-season games with Tulsa, the put up a .349/.391/1.066 slash line with four homers in 10 postseason contests.
Downs and Wong join outfielder Alex Verdugo in the package heading to Beantown. Wong, 23, ascended to Tulsa in mid-July and put together a dominant second half with a .349/.393/.604 slash line in 40 regular-season games. He fared even better in the playoffs, going 15-for-37 (.417) with three homers and 11 RBIs while hitting safely in all 10 contests of the Drillers’ run to the Texas League Finals.
Verdugo, 23, appeared in 106 Major League games for the Dodgers last year and hit .294/.342/.475 before a back injury sidelined him for the last two months of the season and kept him off Los Angeles’ postseason roster. He told MLB.com last month that he hopes to be healthy for Opening Day.
Boston had been slated to receive No. 83 overall prospect Brusdar Graterol from Minnesota, but the right-hander instead will be part of a separate deal between the Twins and Dodgers. In return for the hard-throwing 21-year-old, outfielder Luke Raley and the 67th pick in the 2020 Draft, Los Angeles will send right-hander Kenta Maeda, catcher Jair Camargo and cash to Minnesota.
Graterol made 18 appearances, including 11 starts, across three Minor League levels last season before facing the Tigers in his big league debut on Sept. 1. Before the promotion, he went 7-0 with a 1.92 ERA and 61 strikeouts over 61 innings. His best stretch came with Double-A Pensacola, where Graterol was 6-0 with a 1.71 ERA and .179 opponents’ batting average in 12 outings, including nine starts, striking out 50 in 52 2/3 innings. His season was interrupted in May when he went on the injured list with a right shoulder impingement.
After reaching the Majors, Graterol went 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA and 10 strikeouts against two walks over 9 2/3 innings in 10 relief appearances. The Venezuela native’s fastball is his money pitch, touching triple digits and sitting between 96-98 mph with lots of sink. It received a 70 grade on the 20-to-80 scouting scale from MLB Pipeline. Graterol also utilizes a slider, curveball and changeup.
Signed by Minnesota on Aug. 29, 2014, Graterol missed all of the 2016 season following Tommy John surgery but has been stellar ever since. In 51 Minor League outings, including 41 starts, he’s 19-6 with a 2.48 ERA and 230 punchouts over 214 innings.