No ASG for Betts? Red Sox should extend his contract


The Red Sox have a contract issue that is, certainly, to this observer, not a conundrum, but an absolute, lock-down, 100%, and take it to the bank necessity and that is ante up for a long-term deal for Mookie Betts. Give the non-All-Star Betts a reward he deserves.

With contracts come risk and the free agent market is rife with examples of dismal failures and any Red Sox fan can point to our own cache of collectables that have cost millions and produced resonating moans and groans by the millions in Red Sox Nation.

With a young player signing an extension that purchase arbitration and free agent years can have mixed results. Enter exhibit one – Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays. Moore signed a long-term deal after a few innings and not years and currently is in year two of an unproductive DL stay that has included TJ surgery.

The Rays also signed Evan Longoria and that deal runs until 2023. That deal has had mixed results as Longoria has not made the All-Star team since 2010, but is still as very solid player with a few Gold Gloves and some decent MVP ballot numbers. All-in-all, based on current baseball economics, the parsimonious Rays made the right decision.

The Pirates have become a force to reckon with in the National League and they have taken the bold steps of risk and reward by locking up young talent. Both former MVP, Andrew McCutchen, and superlative Starling Marte and signed for the long haul.

The Red Sox also have employed the pay me now or pay me later approach. Clay Buchholz is a fantastic bargain at this point of the 2015 season – a contractual steal. But last season? With Buchholz the deal is a doubled-edge contractual sword.

The Red Sox also extended two recent additions – Wade Miley and Rick Porcello. With Porcello, the deal is resembles placing your 401(k) into junk bonds being sold by a Bernie Madoff associate. Deals, however, have a bizarre way of resurrecting the positive out of the negative.

The most audacious of signings for Boston has been Dustin Pedroia, who inked a very team friendly deal that extends into the next decade. Behind the scenes I am sure the more zealous of union supporters have labeled Pedey a “Company Man.”

So what about Mookie?

Well, with the drunken sailor approach the Red Sox have with contracts, I would suggest that Henry and his battalion of CPA’s wander down to the bowels of Fenway Park and open up the vault.

Betts is arbitration eligible in 2018 and in 2021 the Big Kiss of free agency arrives. So the risk is just what will happen to Betts? Will a big contract turn Mookie into an oaf, more concerned with having his Bentley detailed than to put in the energy to remain a productive player? I think not.

Betts is the real deal and appears to be a very mature 22-year-old who is quite introspective of just where he is in the proverbial big picture of MLB baseball. You see it when addressing blunders with a no excuse approach. You will see it on the field as Betts will eventually inherit more of a leadership role. Basically – this kid has his head screwed on right.

My presumption is the Red Sox will get down to baseball business and make Betts a newly minted millionaire. And they do have a plus that does not exist with fellow budding star – Xander Bogaerts – no Scott Boras representation. World peace and a solvent Greece will happen before Boras sells out arbitration and FA years.

More from BoSox Injection