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The Sports Report: Dodgers make blockbuster deal

Mookie Betts, Austin Barnes
Mookie Betts
(Elise Amendola / Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

The Dodgers jostled a sleepy offseason awake with a blockbuster three-team trade Tuesday that will bring 2018 American League most valuable player Mookie Betts and 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner David Price to Los Angeles from Boston, according to two people with knowledge of the transaction.

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The Red Sox, in search of salary relief after carrying baseball’s highest payroll for the past two seasons, dealt the star right fielder and veteran left-hander to the Dodgers, who sent second-year outfielder Alex Verdugo to the Red Sox and right-handed pitcher Kenta Maeda to the Minnesota Twins. The Twins reportedly shipped minor league pitcher Brusdar Graterol to the Red Sox.

In a separate deal, the Dodgers reportedly traded outfielder Joc Pederson to the Angels for middle infielder Luis Rengifo, who batted .238 with seven home runs in 357 at-bats as a rookie last season, a move that will bring some payroll relief to the Dodgers. Pederson hit a career-high 36 home runs last season and will make either $9.5 million or $7.75 million in his last year of arbitration, depending on an arbitrator’s decision.

All the trades are contingent on players passing medical examinations. And none of the players the Dodgers dealt are minor league prospects, let alone top prospects Gavin Lux and Dustin May.

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A look at the players involved (as of the time this newsletter was written) in Tuesday’s blockbuster deals involving the Dodgers, Red Sox, Twins and Angels.

Going to Dodgers

Mookie Betts, 27, OF : Betts was named AL MVP in 2018 and is considered by most to be one of the top five players in the game. He is eligible for free agency after the season. He hit .295 with 40 doubles, 29 homers and scored 135 runs last season.

David Price, 34, LHP: Price was AL Cy Young in 2012 and has pitched in 23 postseason games, going 5-9 with a 4.62 ERA. He has three years and $96 million remaining on his current deal. The Red Sox are expected to pay some of that money.

Going from Dodgers to Red Sox

Alex Verdugo, 23, OF: Considered one of the team’s top prospects, Verdugo hit .294 with 12 homers and 44 RBIs in 106 games before he was sidelined by a back injury.

Brusdar Graterol, 21, RHP: Graterol is the Twins’ No. 3 prospect and has a 100-mph fastball. The Dodgers acquired him from Minnesota on Tuesday for Kenta Maeda and immediately flipped him to Boston as part of the Betts trade.

Going from Dodgers to Twins

Kenta Maeda, 31, RHP: Maeda went 47-35 with a 3.87 ERA in four seasons with the Dodgers, including 10-8 and 4.04 last season. He pitched effectively out of the bullpen in the last three postseasons. He has four years remaining on a contract that features heavy incentives.

Going from Dodgers to Angels

Joc Pederson, 27, OF: He had arguably his best season last year, hitting .249 with 36 homers and 74 RBIs. Never was able to hit left-handers though, hitting .188 against them in his career. He is eligible for arbitration, with the team offering $7.75 million and Pederson asking for $9.5 million.

Going from Angels to Dodgers

Luis Rengifo, 22, IF: Regifo played second and short for the Angels last season, hitting .238 with seven homers in 108 games. He had a good batting eye in the minors but struck out 93 times in 357 at-bats last season.

Projected Dodgers lineup

1. Mookie Betts, RF

2. Max Muncy, 1B

3. Justin Turner, 3B

4. Cody Bellinger, CF

5. Corey Seager, SS

6. Gavin Lux, 2B

7. Will Smith, C

8. AJ Pollock, LF

Read more Dodgers

Bill Plaschke: Dodgers are finally in it to win it

Dodgers win the offseason with one swing by acquiring superstar Mookie Betts

Angels add power by acquiring Joc Pederson from the Dodgers for Luis Rengifo

LAKERS

LeBron James had just hit is fifth three pointer of the fourth quarter when Jakob Poeltl ran into him and knocked him to the ground. No whistle blew and James held his arms up in disbelief as he sat on the ground in front of the courtside seats. At a stoppage in play, his teammates rushed over from the Lakers bench to pick him up and as they did so, the whole group of them dissolved into a mosh pit of laughter and hip bumps and shoulder slaps.

Normalcy returned to Staples Center in Tuesday night’s game between the Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs. Their bench celebrated, their fans chanted “Taco Tuesday” at James, their stars dominated and Lionel Richie sat courtside. James scored 36 points and led the Lakers to a commanding victory, 129-102. With the win the Lakers improved to 38-11 while the Spurs fell to 22-28.

Even with their return to normal, there were still reminders of the tragic loss the Lakers franchise experienced nine days prior.

Outside the arena, signs requested that fans wishing to honor Kobe Bryant make donations to the Mamba Sports Foundation in lieu of leaving mementos or flowers. Inside Staples Center, the fans chanted “Ko-be” with Anthony Davis at the foul line, and again with James shooting free throws, in lieu of chanting “M-V-P.”

And the decals honoring Bryant remained on the court.

In the game’s final seconds, the fans in the arena chanted “Ko-be” again, just as they had Friday night in the Lakers’ first game at Staples Center since Bryant’s death.

Davis and Kyle Kuzma each scored 18 points, while Dwight Howard contributed a double double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

CLIPPERS

The Clippers have been active in trade discussions centered around centers and lengthy wings who can guard and score but as of Tuesday they had not amounted to something close to a deal. The league’s trade deadline is Thursday at noon PST.

“We love our team right now, we really do,” coach Doc Rivers said Monday. “And so that’s what I’m looking at right now, is how to get the team we have on the floor right now better.”

The Clippers have held interest in veteran forward Andre Iguodala since last summer, when Golden State traded him to Memphis and it became clear he hoped to be moved again to a championship contender. They pursued forward Marcus Morris as a free agent last offseason and could go after him again after the New York Knicks have reportedly made him available. Minnesota’s Robert Covington is an ideal option for adding three-point shooting and defense but is coveted by several teams.

The Clippers are among a handful of teams monitoring Darren Collison, the point guard and Southern California native who retired unexpectedly in June after 10 seasons but is now considering a return as a free agent.

Read more NBA

Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, Lakers’ Dwight Howard to compete in All-Star contests

DUCKS

Rickard Rakell scored the shootout winner and the Ducks beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase scored in regulation for Anaheim, which has won four of its last five.

John Gibson made 30 saves as the Ducks improved to 2-0-0 on their five-game road that started with a 3-1 win against the Kings.

KINGS

Alex Ovechkin recorded his 27th career hat trick and raised his career goal total to 698 during a five-minute stretch of the third period, rallying the Washington Capitals to a 4-2 victory over the Kings.

Ovechkin, who is closing in on becoming the eighth player in NHL history to reach the 700-goal plateau, moved into the NHL lead with 40 on the season. He singlehandedly overturned a 2-1 deficit inside the final 6:10 of regulation. He has 14 of those 40 goals in his last seven games.

Ovechkin one-timed a feed from T.J. Oshie to tie the score at 2-all . Seventy seconds later, he rebounded his own miss off goaltender Jonathan Quick’s pads and put Washington in front.

He added an empty-netter with 1:46 to play, moving within 10 goals of Mike Gartner for seventh on the NHL’s all-time goals list.

UCLA SPORTS

Even as UCLA’s football team extended an epic Rose Bowl drought, its men’s basketball team surrendered blueblood status, and its Olympic sports fell behind Stanford in piling up NCAA titles, the Bruins almost always could count on one thing worthy of a fist pump under athletic director Dan Guerrero.

They would balance the budget.

Now that bit of being-in-the-black magic has dissipated amid a confluence of factors including coaching turnover in the school’s two biggest sports, leaving UCLA’s athletic department with a $18.9-million deficit for the 2019 fiscal year, according to university records. It’s the Bruins’ first budget shortfall since it was $164,000 in the red in 2004.

The debt will be covered by an interest-bearing loan from the university, a school spokesperson said, though it may not be the last time a bailout is required.

UCLA’s athletic department appears headed for another loss in the millions this year as a result of lagging ticket sales in its marquee sports, putting Guerrero’s successor in a precarious spot when he or she takes over upon his retirement this summer. The new athletic director also will be confronted by tens of millions in overall debt service on the recently completed Wasserman Football Center and Mo Ostin Center that resides outside the athletic department’s operating budget.

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT BASKETBALL

Loyola Marymount plans to unveil a statue of Hank Gathers this month to mark the 30th anniversary of the school’s run to the Elite Eight after his fatal collapse on the court.

The statue will debut outside Gersten Pavilion on Feb. 29, before the Lions’ last home game of the season against San Francisco. Former coach Paul Westhead and members of the 1989-90 team will attend and be honored at halftime.

Gathers’ No. 44 jersey was retired by the school in 2000. The entire team was inducted into LMU’s Hall of Fame in 2005. He was the second player in NCAA history to lead the nation in both scoring and rebounding in the same season.

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific.

Miami at Clippers, 7 p.m., ESPN, Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570

BORN ON THIS DATE

1891: Tennis player Elizabeth Ryan (d. 1979)

1934: Baseball player Henry Aaron

1942: Football player Roger Staubach

1943: Football player Craig Morton

1947: Race car driver Darrell Waltrip

1960: Golfer Jane Geddes

1966: Golfer José María Olazábal

1968: Baseball player Roberto Alomar

1985: Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo

1992: Soccer player Neymar

AND FINALLY

Vin Scully calls Henry Aaron‘s 715th home run. Watch it here.

Until next time...
That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


Newsletter
Go beyond the scoreboard

Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
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