The Boston Red Sox derailed a Mookie Betts blockbuster deal earlier this week because of lingering concerns over top prospect Brusdar Graterol, who was set to come over from the Minnesota Twins. The Sox held up the trade and eventually completed a new one with exclusively the Los Angeles Dodgers, adding infield prospect Jeter Downs in the place of Graterol.
Other teams were affected by the new deal, but the Red Sox actually made out well by getting Downs instead of Graterol for several notable reasons.
3. No Lingering Injury Concerns
Graterol had Tommy John surgery back in 2016, and looked healthy enough in last year's ALDS for the Twins. Yet the Red Sox were convinced something was wrong, and it was enough to potentially ruin the whole Betts trade. Getting Downs instead of Graterol gives the Red Sox a top prospect who has no lingering injury concerns, even if many thought Graterol's weren't valid to begin with. Bottom line: Graterol is a velocity-dependent pitcher who's already battled velocity-sucking injuries. There was reason to be worried here.
2. He's a Higher-Ranked Prospect
Graterol is ranked No. 83 overall in the 2020 MLB Pipeline Top 100 list of prospects, slipping after a year where it became clear he'd likely be a reliever moving forward. Downs shows up as No. 44 overall, featuring no major league experience, and plenty of room to develop. The hype is real for Downs, featuring an expected major league arrival of 2021. He offers more upside and is not playing a position where arm troubles can pop up at any time, especially with Graterol already having Tommy John surgery.
1. Position of Need
Downs can play both second base and shortstop, and while Xander Bogaerts is locked in at short, Jose Peraza is on a one-year deal to hold down second base in Dustin Pedroia's absence. Downs' best shot at the majors is at second, and he presents himself as a potential future star at the position. The Red Sox need a full-time replacement at the position after Pedroia's long reign has come to an unfortunate end, and did very well to get Downs after failing to hold up their initial end of the bargain.