The rumblings on social media suggest that the “struggling” Boston Red Sox should trade their MVP player Mookie Betts. Here’s why that won’t happen.
If you are a Boston sports fan, these are tough times for you. You are just getting over a World Series championship, a Superbowl win, and the Bruins are 2 games away from hoisting Lord Stanley’s cup. The mediocre performances that the Red Sox have been putting on so far in 59 games this season suggest that this might be “the worst team ever”.
However, I’m here to suggest the following: The Boston Red Sox in 2019 (or any other year, in fact) might never be better than the team we saw in 2018. We cannot keep holding them to that standard driven by some recency bias.
According to Fangraphs, the Red Sox rank 9th in baseball in team WAR, 6th in runs scored, 6th in wRC+ and 6th in team OPS. The team pitching has been average to below average, which shows where people can believe that this team just plain sucks.
Believe it or not, I have seen many people on multiple instances suggest that the Red Sox should trade Mookie Betts and that this is the solution to all of their problems. This would be one of the worst moves this team could ever make.
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A few players to be traded after winning their MVP awards include Alex Rodriguez (who was traded to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano, who had two decent seasons before being dealt to Washington), Rickey Henderson (who was traded for a package of which Steve Karsay headlined with a career ERA of 4.01), and Rod Carew (who was traded for a package that never saw a single player achieve a WAR greater than 4.0). These are a few instances among many.
Betts is not having an MVP season. Fangraphs shows that he has a wRC+ of 122, an OPS of .844, and a wOBA of .359. These numbers are good, maybe even very good, but not MVP caliber like we know Mookie can achieve.
Betts has one year left on his contract before he becomes a free agent in the 2021 offseason. Be that as it may, the Red Sox would not yield a return that would ever be worth trading their best player, even if it was for a single season.
Mind you, the Red Sox are somewhat on thin ice with Mookie as it is. In the offseason before Betts’ MVP season in 2018, Betts went to arbitration with the team. This is something that could have been avoided, and will forever be pointed as a factor if Mookie decides to move on from the Red Sox when his free agency arrives.
Trading him away, to only get a mediocre package in return, would probably be the last straw for Betts. Players like Mookie who have been at the forefront of the franchise since their MLB debut need to be treated as though they are priceless. Because if the Red Sox don’t treat him as though he’s the best player in baseball, there is a team out there that will