The previous three trades had to be made and the one issue that resonated within each was disenchantment. The fissure developed and an aura of negativity surrounding player, management, teammates, and the public. That all is dismissed when discussing Mookie Betts.
If baseball has a category of solid citizens then Betts is certainly sequestered in it. Rarely does a negative surface regarding Betts, whose accomplishments on and off the field are well documented. Betts’ stature among his teammates and his industrious approach to his profession are exceptional, but circumstances make this a deal that must be made.
Betts has all the intention of exercising what free agency may offer – a notable risk that could be impacted by poor performance or an unfortunate serious injury. The potential reward is worth it. The Red Sox have reportedly made an offer that was rebuffed by the Betts team, but certainly, that book is not closed.
The confluence of payroll considerations and free agency now force a hard decision by management. Do you absorb $27 million that restricts your payroll maneuverability or simply take the best available offer and move on?
If management is to be believed then the Red Sox have little leeway and Betts may not see a locker with his name on it at Fenway Park when 2020 season opens. This is not a poison pill for Boston based on the three previously mentioned deals. Three remarkable players who left but did not destroy the franchise. Championships came despite their departure.
The Red Sox simply need to make a decision as quickly as possible. The lessons of history show that even with the best of the best-expunged success is not necessarily a victim.