It’s time for Red Sox fans to finally move on from Mookie Betts
The Boston Red Sox are known for not giving their top players contracts. There have been two incidents of this in the past six years, the most recent of which was with Mookie Betts.
If you remember, which I don’t know how you cannot, Betts was traded to the Dodgers. This upset a lot of Red Sox Nation because another homegrown talent that they should have kept ended up being traded away.
What people do not know is that there were attempts to keep Betts. The Red Sox offered a 10-year $200 million contract at first and after the MVP season, tried to offer a 10-year $300 million contract. Both were shot down by Betts and he said that he wanted to test free agency. He did at one point come back and ask for a 12-year, $420 million deal which was over $120 difference from what the Sox offered.
Instead of giving in to Betts’ demands, the Red Sox front office decided to extend Chris Sale and Xander Bogaerts. With that being done, it ended up putting the Red Sox in a hard position when it came down to Mookie’s last year.
This is the part not many people understand with the trade. When Bloom came in, it was probably already in process that Mookie was being traded. Bloom just had to be the face that everyone blamed. Betts was the fastest and easiest way that the Sox were going to get under the luxury tax threshold. If the Sox ended up going over that for the third year, they would have been penalized and taxed substantially. Trading Mookie and sending half of David Price’s contract along with it helped get under that threshold and made it so that they were able to hopefully be competitive in the 2020 offseason.
The big problem that people seem to have is the fact that after Betts was traded to the Dodgers, instead of testing the market and hitting free agency, he decided to take the 12-year, $365 million deal that L.A. had offered him. If you look at how things have gone in the past in the offseason, it tends to be really slow. With COVID-19, there was no guarantee that Betts was going to get the type of contract that he desired. The Dodgers actually met Betts in the middle of the $300 – $420 million range and gave him the years he wanted.
Betts’ situation has been getting a lot of heat from the fans and it just is not fair to the player. He deserved the contract that he got, in my opinion. To call a player greedy for receiving what they are worth is just asinine. Machado and Harper both got around the $300 million range and Betts is a far superior player than those two. It is not like he left the Red Sox and signed with the Yankees. If that was the case, I would understand.
I look at the Betts situation and think about the Jon Lester trade. It basically came down to the players had to look at it as a business. No one gave Lester the amount of heat that Boston fans are giving to Betts. Before eventually trading Lester to the Oakland Athletics, the Sox offered him a 4-year, $70 MM contract. When he hit the free agency market, the Sox ended up offering Lester 6-years at $135 MM. We all know what ended up happening. He signed with the Chicago Cubs for 6-years, $155 MM and you know what? The ownership ended up getting much more heat for that flop than with Mookie.
Business is business and eventually, one side has to win. Do you think the billionaire owners should always try to go and offer the hometown discount or do you think they should actually open their wallets and pay the players somewhat near what they are asking for? You cannot make everyone happy and you have to take the good with the bad. The Sox ended up receiving Alex Verdugo, who showed a lot of promise and also bolstered the farm.