Jeter Downs
The Red Sox can still win the Mookie Betts trade. Can Jeter Downs live up to his promise and make Chaim Bloom look like a genius? (Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Jeter Downs Will Make Or Break The Mookie Betts Trade

The Red Sox can still win the Mookie Betts trade. Before we begin any further, let’s just get these facts out of the way.

A: The Dodgers win the World Series with or without Mookie Betts.

B: Mookie underachieved during that Dodgers postseason run.

C: The Red Sox are sitting at home come playoff time a year ago whether they make the trade or not.

If you disagree with any of those facts, see yourself out. I don’t have time for you. They are undeniable.

Now, let’s get back to the topic on hand. By no means am I saying anything to disparage Mookie. He’s a great baseball player. We also don’t know if the Red Sox won or lost this trade yet. Maybe it’s even a win-win based on the windows of contention.

Alex Verdugo isn’t Betts but he’s on an All-Star trajectory. He’s also a younger player that fits the timeline better. There’s just no way you can justify trading Betts if Verdugo is the only big contributor from the trade. Jeter Downs officially enters the chat.

Downs, 22, is considered the first or second best prospect in the Red Sox farm system. It just depends on which ranking system you use. Others have Tristan Casas ranked ahead of him. Nevertheless, Downs is considered one of the upper echelon prospects in the game.

Because of the canceled minor league season a year ago, we haven’t seen much of Downs since 2019. He’s off to a torid start thus far homering to right field in his spring debut. Downs is considered the second baseman of the future. It’s a matter of how high his ceiling is.

The butterfly effect on the Mookie trade is going to linger for a long time. Initially, the Red Sox were going to receive Verdugo and a hard throwing reliever Brusdar Graterol. Medicals blew up the first iteration of the trade. Boston instead received Verdugo, Downs, and catching prospect Connor Wong.

Personally, I thought Downs was the much smarter play. A franchise cornerstone second baseman has much more value than a hard thrower reliever that can be hit or miss. The truth of the matter is, Downs is the player that makes or breaks this trade.

“I was joking with ‘Tek that those two kids, they’re making Chaim look smarter than a year and a half ago,” Cora said.

That’s the part that nobody wants to hear. Mookie is the star name in the trade so fans often times don’t care about the rest. Red Sox general manager could not only look really smart, but could also wind up winning this trade. How good is Jeter Downs? That’s the million dollar question.

If the Red Sox found their next Dustin Pedroia with a cornerstone that hits .300 every year with power, this trade looks smart. Especially since it looks like Verdugo is a massive hit. At the end of the day, they got the best of Mookie Betts. A World Series ring, an MVP production, and didn’t have to hand out the $365 million contract.

Will Jeter Downs make Chaim look smart or dumb? Boy, I can’t wait to find out. The only weird part will be having a guy named Jeter man the infield for the Boston Red Sox. Never thought I’d see the day.