Red Sox shouldn’t pursue Mookie Betts during 2021 free agency period

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 29: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during the sixth inning at Fenway Park on September 29, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 29: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox looks on during the sixth inning at Fenway Park on September 29, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox traded away former MVP Mookie Betts this past offseason. He’ll be a free agent next winter and Boston shouldn’t pursue him.

This past winter the Red Sox did something that felt unthinkable at the time, they traded away Mookie Betts. Boston’s former MVP was a year away from becoming a free agent and contract negotiations had come to a standstill. With the need to shed payroll the only way the team was going to hit their goal was to move a big contract, and Betts was the cherry on the sundae.

That brings us back to the current events where it feels like we’re close to having a 2020 season. Today the league office and officials from each team agree to terms for a proposal that is getting sent to the MLBPA. I won’t dive into the fine print as that Player’s Association could shoot it down and we’d be right back to square one. I’ll stay more on the positive side of things, if there is a season this year, then the Betts trade will be a net positive.

Some of you may be ready to throw your computers after reading that last sentence but hear me out. If a season gets played in 2020 then the Red Sox would have achieved their long-term goal. The trade of Mookie and David Price was put into place to get them below the $208M CBT Threshold. Had the MLB flat out canceled the season then Boston’s effort would be for not and they’d still be well above that line, and getting the full penalty.

Since the chance is pretty strong that we’re going to get some baseball soon then we can project the next free agency window after this season. That means that the Red Sox will head into the next free agent window without the guillotine that is the Luxury Tax bill hanging above their collective necks. So there’s no tax penalty and a former Boston superstar on the market, it feels like fate. Right? Wrong!

Let me say this now, I love Mookie Betts. The dude is one of the best to do the damn thing right now but he also wants to get paid, which doesn’t jive with Boston’s philosophy right now. With the current financial struggle the world is facing thanks to the coronavirus, did Betts make a mistake by not signing one of the extensions Boston offered? It’s hard to tell at this point as some team out there could still offer him the world next offseason.

When it all boils down this is going to be a flat-out business decision. Mookie as said from day one he wants to go and test free agency and that he’s treating this like a business, meanwhile, the Red Sox have approached it like dealing with family.

Chaim Bloom is the man in the hot seat. Not only does he have to carry the burden of being the man that traded Mookie but he may also have to be the man that doesn’t bring him back. Bloom came to Boston from Tampa where he earned his stripes building strong teams with no budget. Luckily he has a nice budget with the Red Sox but he was also brought in to right the fiscal wrongs of Dave Dombrowski.

Dealin’ Dave was given the keys to the castle and he did what he does best. He used a strong farm system as trade bait to bring in stars while also opening the checkbook. I can’t hate the man as that tactic helped deliver a World Series Championship in 2018, but his time as President of Baseball Ops also crippled Boston. If he wasn’t so fast and loose with the money then the team wouldn’t have had to make the deals they did this past winter.

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So, let’s get back to the matter at hand after my roundabout way of getting here. Betts is soon to be a free agent and the Red Sox have the money to spend on him, but they shouldn’t. As much as I’d love to see Mookie back in right field with the red “B,” on his helmet, it just isn’t the right move. If he wants to get the most money possible then Fenway Park may not be his home for the future. Bloom isn’t known for big spending and I doubt we’ll see him start to change his methodology now that he’s with the Sox.

If the Red Sox were to re-sign Mookie for the kind of money that he wants, they’ll be right back to square one in financial trouble. The thing is, re-signing Betts doesn’t just affect the two parties, it affects the entire team. J.D. Martinez could always receive a new deal and deserves a nice paycheck. Rafael Devers is doing everything under the sun to earn himself a nice contract extension. Not to mention the guys over the next handful of years that will also become free agents.

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As much as I want to see Mookie back in a Red Sox uniform it just wouldn’t work with how the ownership and Chaim are trying to guide the ship. He’s a generational talent that never should’ve been sent away, but that’s the reality we have to live in. I hope he gets the deal he’s looking for as he’s more than earned that contract. His hard work and efforts allowed Boston to see great levels of success and I wish him nothing but the best.