Tony Clark says held-up Mookie Betts trade putting 'players' lives in state of limbo'

ESPN logo
Saturday, February 8, 2020

The Major League Baseball Players Association had a strong message Friday for the teams involved in the held-up Mookie Betts blockbuster deal: Resolve it quickly.

Those were the words of executive director Tony Clark, who in a statement told the teams to conclude talks or move on.

"The proposed trades between the Dodgers, Red Sox, Twins, and Angels need to be resolved without further delay," Clark said. "The events of this last week have unfairly put several Players' lives in a state of limbo. The unethical leaking of medical information as well as the perversion of the salary arbitration process serve as continued reminders that too often Players are treated as commodities by those running the game."

The blockbuster three-way trade, sources previously told ESPN, would send Red Sox right fielder Betts and starter David Priceto the Dodgers; Dodgers outfielder Alex Verdugo and Twins pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol to the Red Sox; and Dodgers starterKenta Maedato the Twins.

The deal was agreed upon Tuesday night, pending medical reviews. But the Red Sox, as first reported by The Athletic and confirmed by ESPN, were spooked by a medical review of Graterol, the hard-throwing 21-year-old right-hander who has undergone Tommy John surgery and missed time in 2019 with a shoulder injury.

Graterol's agent, Scott Boras, blasted the assertion that the pitcher is not healthy.

"To suggest that this player is not healthy going forward, or has any form of substantive medical defect that would in any way damage his career, all of that is false," Boras told The Boston Globe. "This is a scant supposition created by medical review, by someone who has never seen him physically. I don't know Boston's position on this. I know that people are suggesting that Graterol has some malady about him medically, which is inaccurate. That supposition is false.

"He is in spring training. He's ready to throw without limitations going forward through the season. And there's no suggestion that there's anything at issue with this player in the current or immediate aspects of his career."

While sources have told ESPN that the likelihood of the trade blowing up is slim, as medical-related impasses are typically worked around, the teams have been talking about alternative options to complete the deal.

The three-way trade is tied to another proposed deal in which the Dodgers would send outfielderJoc Pederson, starter Ross Striplingand prospect Andy Pages to the Los Angeles Angels for infielder Luis Rengifo and a prospect, according to sources. By offloading Pederson, the Dodgers would remain underneath the $208 million luxury-tax threshold even after taking on the hefty salaries of Betts and Price.

Related Video