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Dodgers: Red Sox Cut One Time Top Prospect Involved in Mookie Betts Trade

It’s getting safer and safer to say that the Dodgers firmly won the Mookie Betts trade. Mookie helped lead LA to a World Series championship in his first season in blue while all of the players the Dodgers sent to Boston have had mixed bags of success.

Including the one-time highly regarded shortstop prospect, Jeter Downs, who was designated for assignment by the Red Sox on Thursday.



Downs was a key piece of the trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers in February 2020. Former LA fan favorite Alex Verdugo and catcher/utility man Connor Wong were also involved in the deal.

The 23-year-old Downs made his big league debut with the Sox last season and struggled mightily at the dish. In 14 games and 41 plate appearances, he hit just .154 with a .427 OPS.

Before his time with Boston, the Dodgers had turned Downs into an intriguing prospect around baseball circles. He was initially drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 2017 and was sent to the Dodgers in a massive trade that saw Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Alex Wood head to Cincy. Downs worked his way up to being the 44th-best prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo, before heading to Boston in the Betts deal.

Of course, covid knocked out the 2020 Minor League Baseball season and things seemed to careen off track for the budding star. Over his last two seasons at Triple-A, he hit just .193 with 30 home runs over 180 games. And things didn’t get any better after he made his big league debut this season.

From here, Downs will likely choose to explore the minor league free agent market and could even latch back on with the Dodgers, if both sides choose to go that route.

Andrew Fleeceman strikes yet again.

Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream. He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future. He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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11 Comments

  1. Ah, back when Friedman could actually pull the trigger. Fast fwd to now and he can’t even handle a water gun.

  2. I still remember all the naysayers lamenting the can’t miss prospect Downs being traded for Mookie. Some even claiming that it would go down as the worst trade in Dodger history

  3. That’s one home run every 6 games….not bad but not better than our current prospects?

  4. Prospects are just prospects and maybe suspects. We’re gonna have four or maybe five of them starting at one time, and none of them are any 5-star standouts with at least a couple flaws to work on yet. One GM stated on air “ …prospects get GM’s fired….. I want star veterans to win.”

    1. That’s probably Dombrowski. He won in ’03 with the Marlins: they haven’t won 90 games in a season since.He got the Tigers to the WS in ’12 but lost; they haven’t won 70 games in a season in last 6 years. He won in ’18 with Boston who was forced to trade Betts because of payroll constraints after he left. He wins one and leaves a wreck behind for years after decimating his farm and team payroll. I’d much rather have a team compete every year because they understand the value of balancing youth and keeping payroll flexibility. If you want to win you have to give prospects a chance to contribute.

  5. In response to Bum4ever and John, I understand the playing of prospects, but only of one or max of two who are really exceptional with no weaknesses in the minors. A 5-tool player like a Julio Rodriguez, Michael Harris, or Jeremy Peña, would help to make a championship team, but not a marginal player who is not fine tuned trying to make the cut. The Dodgers are not a mid-level organization of just being competitive, MLB expects the Dodgers to be in the upper echelon of contenders every year.
    No, it wasn’t Dombrowski who said it, but strangely he fits the model.

    1. Michael Harris or Jeremy Pena were considered pretty mid in terms of prospect rankings before making their debuts. Solid prospects in some top 100 rankings with differing places on these lists, but they were never at any point really considered slam dunk, can’t miss prospects like a Julio Rodriguez, an Adley Rutschman, a Fernando Tatis,
      a Carlos Correa, etc.

      But to your point, yes there are certain slam dunk prospects like those mentioned that you really plan to integrate into a core of a team and build upon, and Dodgers don’t necessarily have one of those currently (Cartaya can potentially be one, but we’ll see probably after this season). I would say they haven’t had one since Corey Seager and Julio Urias. But even if good but not slam dunk prospects aren’t always as sure things as the slam dunk ones doesn’t mean they can’t or don’t contribute in an impactful way. Look at even just recent Dodger history. Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Will Smith or even the Gavin Lux, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin’s of the world to a lesser extent. Having a continual pipeline of very good prospects for cheap, cost-controlled talent to supplement and or even add to a core of established veterans and stars is the best recipe for sustained success. And if recent track record with our player development system/minor league pipeline making a big impact on the Major league team indicates anything (Seager, Urias, Bellinger, Buehler, Smith, Lux, May, etc.) I give our FO the benefit of the doubt.

      Even further, look at the prospects/young MLB talent they let go of in trade in recent years (Downs, Verdugo, Wong, Ruiz, Gray, etc.). All of them have been pretty replacement level or haven’t even made it out of the minors. Our FO isn’t perfect, but I definitely trust in their evaluation of and development of minor league talent.

      1. I understand your reasoning and agree to some degree. What I’m trying to say is you can integrate one or two deserving slam dunks slowly into the lineup. Even the past Dodgers’ ringers didn’t start right away, but brought up because of injuries to a starter, or lack of a backup. However, what I foresee for next year is a whole influx of prospects starting in the lineup whether they are ready or not.
        This might be a concern if the Dodgers start losing ground in the standings early while waiting for these prospects to catch on. Yeah, I just hope FO is making the right decisions.

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