Red Sox trading Mookie Betts is worse than Patriots losing Tom Brady
The case for Betts
The part that stings the most about the Betts trade is how it unraveled in the worst possible way. No franchise wants to part with a generational talent but in some circumstances it’s unavoidable. If the team is forced to watch their superstar walk away, a hefty trade package that sets the club up for future success can soften the blow.
Sadly, that wasn’t a priority for the Red Sox. It’s defensible if the front office truly was convinced that Betts was going to leave in free agency. Ownership has tried to spin the narrative by leaking information about Betts turning down a lucrative offer while demanding north of $400 million. I’m not buying the idea that any team will give him a contract in that ballpark and it’s foolish to think the Red Sox had to trade him because it will take that outlandish price tag to re-sign him.
While they may have been willing to offer Betts $300 million at the age of 26, if they aren’t prepared to approach that salary when he hits free agency at 28 then trading him was a better alternative than losing him for nothing.
Even if a trade was inevitable, the Red Sox still failed by turning it into a shameless salary dump. They used one of baseball’s best players as a pawn to dump the bloated contract of David Price – scratch that, they actually only shed half of Price’s salary, with the remainder clogging their payroll for the next three years while he pitches in Dodger blue.
Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong are appealing assets who might turn out to be solid major league players one day but it feels as though the Red Sox should have received more for Betts. They almost certainly would have if they hadn’t insisted on dumping the Price contract.
Betts is undoubtedly one of the top five position players in baseball and arguably would have entered the conversation for the best in Red Sox history had he stayed in Boston. He should have at least a handful of seasons remaining as an MVP-caliber superstar and could have remained a key cog in the Red Sox lineup for another decade.
Knowing that won’t happen because the multi-billionaire owners wanted to save a few bucks leaves a sickening feeling in the stomachs of Red Sox fans.