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In Trade for Betts, Another of Astros’ Vanquished Opponents Bulks Up


Downs was actually born on Alex Rodriguez’s birthday, in Colombia in 1998, but his parents named him for a different young shortstop of that era. Their older son was named Jerry Jr., after his father, and they wanted another J name.

“Back then I had started watching the Yankees and I admired Derek Jeter, the young boy,” Downs’s mother, Lucila, told The Dayton Daily News in 2018, when Downs was a Cincinnati Reds prospect. “I liked how he played baseball with that love and how he pushed himself. I loved the name … and those pretty eyes.”

In time, Boston fans may learn to cheer for a guy named Jeter, just as they did for a guy named Mookie. (A different Mookie, last name Wilson, once took a memorable at-bat in New York against the Red Sox.) For now, though, those fans can only fume about losing Betts, 27, who might be the best all-around player in the majors besides Mike Trout. In Price, they also lose a pitcher who should have been the most valuable player of the 2018 World Series, when he beat the Dodgers twice, including in the Game 5 clincher on short rest.

The Red Sox will not get Brusdar Graterol, the hard-throwing reliever who was originally headed to Boston by way of the Minnesota Twins, who had agreed to send him to the Dodgers for starter Kenta Maeda. The Red Sox reportedly had concerns with Graterol’s durability after examining his medical records, so the Dodgers eventually agreed to send Downs and Wong instead, pending medical review. The Dodgers will keep Graterol for themselves now, with Maeda bolstering the Twins’ rotation, once that deal becomes official.

The Red Sox were afraid of losing Betts in free agency next winter, at a time when they are trying to cut payroll to reset their luxury tax rate. Their owner, John Henry, acknowledged this goal at the end of the season, then emailed The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy last month insisting that the focus on the tax “resides with the media far more than it does within the Sox.”

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