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Mookie Betts walks through a Fenway Park tunnel after scoring the winning run in the final Red Sox game of 2019. Photo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The Red Sox and Dodgers have agreed to a blockbuster deal that will send former MVP Mookie Betts and veteran (and extremely expensive) starter David Price to Los Angeles for a package that includes promising young outfielder Alex Verdugo, ESPN's Jeff Passan reports.

The state of play: The trade also includes the Twins, who will send pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol to the Red Sox and, in turn, receive starter Kenta Maeda from the Dodgers.

By the numbers: Since the start of the 2016 season, Betts' 33.8 WAR (wins above replacement) is second to only Mike Trout's 35.5, and he leads all players with 98 defensive runs saved — 13 more than second-place Andrelton Simmons.

Why it matters: This move instantly makes the Dodgers super contenders and puts arguably the two best players in the world in the same market. It also serves as a stark reminder that the baseball world is increasingly dictated by teams' desire to stay under the luxury-tax threshold.

How it works: Each season, clubs that exceed a predetermined threshold ($206 million last year, $208 million this year) must pay a "luxury tax" on each dollar spent above that threshold, and repeat "offenders" see their tax rates increase exponentially.

  • As three-time offenders, Boston was looking at an aggressive tax rate, so they traded away the epitome of a franchise player to avoid paying it.
  • The Yankees and Dodgers have hit the reset tax button themselves in recent years, paving the way for them to sign the two best players to change teams this offseason: Gerrit Cole and now Betts.

What they're saying: ESPN's Bill Barnwell sums up the frustration that I imagine most Red Sox fans feel at the moment — and that all fans feel when the team they love prioritizes profits over winning:

"Paraphrasing but after the A's traded Rickey Henderson, Bill James wrote something like 'The whole point of having a team is to get a Rickey Henderson and keep him for as long as possible.' That's the first thing that came to mind about the Mookie Betts trade."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Blinken protests Israel settlements approval in "tense" phone call

Benny Gantz (L) and Tony Blinken. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken protested the decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank during a tense phone call on Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time new construction in the settlements has been approved since President Biden assumed office, and the Biden administration had been privately pressing the Israeli government not to proceed.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.