Boston Red Sox: Brusdar Graterol key to Mookie Betts trade

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04: Brusdar Graterol #51 of the Minnesota Twins looks on against the New York Yankees on October 4, 2019 in game one of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04: Brusdar Graterol #51 of the Minnesota Twins looks on against the New York Yankees on October 4, 2019 in game one of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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The Boston Red Sox finally did the inevitable in trading Mookie Betts. If they are going to win this trade in the long term, Brusdar Graterol is the key.

As the days passed, it became more and more apparent that the Boston Red Sox were going to trade Mookie Betts. While he had established himself as one of the best players in the game, he is also set to be a free agent after the upcoming year. With their dramatic discrepancies in perceived value when it came to an extension, Betts was gone.

That anticipated deal happened late on Tuesday, when he was packaged with David Price and sent to the Dodgers. Yet, the Red Sox return was not what anyone would have expected, as they received back Alex Verdugo from Los Angeles, with Brusdar Graterol heading east from Minnesota, as Kenta Maeda found himself heading to the Twins.

In theory, Verdugo could be considered the key to the deal. After all, he will be taking Betts’ old spot in right, putting him directly in the spotlight. If he gets off to a rough start, the questions and second guessing will be swift.

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Nonetheless, it is truly Graterol that is the key to this trade. A top 100 prospect, and considered to be the Twins top minor league pitcher, one can understand the intrigue. Armed with a fastball that can reach 100 MPH, and a hard slider that is a plus-plus offering, Graterol is the type of pitcher that teams dream about. Add in the fact that he is built like a slightly taller Bartolo Colon, and he has all the makings of a possible fan favorite.

It is also thought that Graterol could become a top of the rotation arm. He already has two excellent offerings, as well as a changeup and curve that round out his arsenal. Of those two, the change is likely the better bet to be a viable third offering, as it shows flashes of being a viable major league offering. The problem is that he tends to overthrow the pitch, resulting in a lack of separation in velocity and not nearly as much movement as one would want.

Even if the changeup does not developed as hoped, Graterol still appears to be a star in the making. His high octane fastball and devastating slider would make him a weapon in the bullpen, a possible closer in the making. Considering the Red Sox unsettled bullpen, particularly when it comes to the ninth inning, he has a path to the closer role.

As disappointing as it would seem for Graterol to be a reliever, a strong bullpen can make a major difference. The Red Sox missed the postseason last year, in large part, because their bullpen was an ongoing disaster. Having a long term answer in the back of the bullpen, especially at a lower cost, could be extremely beneficial for Boston.

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The Boston Red Sox did as well as they could have, given the circumstances of their trade. If this deal ends up being a success, it will come down to how Brusdar Graterol develops.