Red Sox superstar Mookie Betts is prepping for free agency
The Boston Red Sox have several big decisions coming down the pike with the impending free agency of Mookie Betts as the top priority.
Red Sox Nation, with each grain of sand that passes through the hour-glass we are getting closer and closer to the inevitable free-agent status of Mookie Betts. It’s something that we all know is coming and speak about in hushed tones, but nothing will stop the clock from ticking away. When the 2020 season concludes the All-Star right-fielder will officially be on the free-agent market.
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Though he may not be having the type of season that earned him AL MVP honors in 2018, Betts is still one of the premier players in the majors. He currently leads the Majors with 89 runs, a stat he also finished #1 in last year. Betts may not be seeing the offensive numbers where he’d like them but he’s still producing at a high level. The next season and a half will dictate his next payday.
Betts expressed his feelings on 2019 as opposed to the storybook season that was last year. It’s incredibly hard to follow up not only the individual season that Betts had but the overall team results that the Red Sox were able to achieve in 2018.
"“I wouldn’t say I’m frustrated,” Betts said. “That’s just a part of the season. Last year was an amazing year. Just like I may not be able to have that type of MVP season every year, well, how many teams have amazing seasons like that every year? So this year has new challenges that we have to go about and accept it.”"
Mookie spoke with Masslive.com yesterday and he sounded like he had his mind made up when it came to the free agency topic. He also made it very clear that even though he plans to explore free agency he loves Boston and his time with the Red Sox.
"“It’s completely wrong,” Betts told MassLive.com on Monday at Tropicana Field. “I’ve loved it here. I love the front office, my teammates, coaches. Everybody. It’s been nothing but amazing here. Just because you go to free agency doesn’t mean you don’t want to be somewhere. It’s just a part of the business.”"
I can understand Mookie defending his desire to test free agency. Just because a player wants to see what his options are doesn’t necessarily mean that he dislikes his current situation or team. The Red Sox will be able to negotiate with Mookie just like any other organization. If he decides to leave it won’t be due to a dislike for Boston but more so what’s best for him and his family.
I think we all know that it’s going to take a pretty damn large Brinks truck to keep Betts in Boston. Mookie stands to be the gem of the 2021 free agency class and will have every contending team with the available funds courting him.
Betts does have a year of arbitration left on his deal for next season and with the sounds of it, there won’t be much hope of an extension. He earned $20M for the 2019 season through arbitration and should be able to command at least that much for 2020. However, one thing that could sway him away from the free agency pool is how poorly things went for the free agents this winter.
"“I’ve never said that,” he said. “I’ve always said I loved it here. It’s been amazing to me, my family. It’s … like a home to me. It’s been all I know. And just because you exercise something in the business, that doesn’t mean I don’t like it.”"
Yeah, guys like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper got paid big to join new squads, while Mike Trout, Chris Sale, and Xander Bogaerts all signed big money extensions but it wasn’t a rapid-paced procedure. Not to forget Dallas Keuchel and former Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel not getting signed until well after the season began. This could prove to be a bit of a warning for Mookie that free agency may not be his best route to travel.
When all is said and done Mookie Betts has more than earned every penny he’s earned and will earn. He’s been the heart and soul of the Red Sox since he joined the main roster of the organization. Only he knows whether or not he’ll be staying in Boston and that decision won’t be made until the offers begin to flow in.