Mookie Betts’ position switch with Dodgers shows Red Sox missed value with mega contract

Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers
Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox have a fair few flops in their recent offseason records. From letting talented, homegrown players walk to whiffing on free agents, Boston hasn't been easy on fans in the past few years.

The Red Sox's worst offense, by far — and, arguably, where all the rest of its failures began — was trading Mookie Betts to the Dodgers in 2020. Boston was reluctant to shell out an extension for Betts, which likely would've been upwards of $300 million.

The Sox were also too afraid to watch a homegrown star and recent World Series champion walk away for nothing. Then again, the return of Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong was not nearly enough for Betts and David Price, who departed for LA with him, but everyone knows what they say about hindsight.

The Red Sox didn't want to pay for just another outfielder. A $300 million-plus extension is nothing to sneeze at, and the front office was afraid to overpay. But Betts is showcasing his versatility in Los Angeles, on the field and otherwise.

Mookie Betts' transition back to second base suggests the Red Sox missed out on more than they could've imagined

This coming season, Betts will be returning to his infield roots as the Dodgers' second baseman (which began last season). Before the Red Sox transitioned him to the outfield on a full-time basis, Betts was a talented second baseman. He's ready to show off his infield prowess this season, to the chagrin of many Sox fans.

Boston's prospect pool is loaded with infielders, many with second-base capabilities. But those players aren't major-league ready, and the Red Sox needed a second baseman two seasons ago — Kiké Hernández and Christian Arroyo aren't necessarily known for their defense, or their offense, for that matter.

If the Sox extended Betts, they could've had a competent second baseman on their roster all this time. Maybe Boston's defense wouldn't be so pitiful, either. Though Betts hasn't played a consistent second base in years, he has already come in strong on MLB Network's list of the best second basemen in the league.

If the Red Sox extended Betts, they would've secured a consistent bat with more than 30 homers in the past two seasons and a better defensive infielder than many they're currently working with.

But beyond that, Betts has a winning personality off the field and the desire to be great. He's a perennial All-Star and MVP candidate, and the Red Sox are missing such a presence on the team.

Red Sox Nation knew the Betts trade was bad from the jump, but there was no way to know the full extent of what they would be missing out on. It turns out it's worse than we thought.

"I want to be great," Betts said. "When I'm done, I want you to remember not necessarily just the baseball player, but Mookie. I want to be a legend in the game."

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