The wait is finally over and one of the top two free agents of the 2018-2019 offseason has agreed to financial terms on a deal. Manny Machado and the San Diego Padres have reportedly agreed on a deal worth ten years, $300 million per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.
Machado’s new deal is said to be the richest free-agent deal in American Sports history per AJ Cassavell.
While Machado inks this mega-deal and Bryce Harper still sits on the market with the potential to edge out this contract, setting the new high mark, what does this mean for Boston Red Sox outfielder and reigning American League MVP, Mookie Betts?
Betts’ contract has been something to speculate about since he’s proved to be one of the top players in Major League Baseball today. Relative to opinion, some have placed the Red Sox right fielder in the same class as Mike Trout, who is also said to be the greatest player in the game today.
Mookie Betts enters his third year of arbitration eligibility–after agreeing to $20 million for the 2019 season in his second year of eligibility–next offseason and after that, if an extension is not yet taken care of, Betts hits the free-agent for the first time in his career ahead of the 2021 season.
What does Manny Machado’s deal mean for the Red Sox and Mookie Betts? It makes it that much harder for the team to extend the World Series Champion with a potential “hometown discount” prior to hitting the open market.
The team itself has already made it known that if they had it their way, they’d hang onto Betts for the long term. But now seeing what Machado received, will the team want to sign that type of deal?
Something that seemed to be occurring this offseason was that owners appeared to be fighting back slightly on these massive contracts that usually end up hurting the team on the back end of things. But, of course, one team shelled the money keeping this pattern of absurdly lucrative and long-term deals alive.
In reaction to Machado’s deal today down in Fort Meyers, Betts told the media that it really doesn’t change anything in regards to an extension and whether or not he’ll test free agency per Chris Mason’s article on the Eagle-Tribune.
He also had this to say about his upcoming free agency, per Chris Mason: “It’s not just about me,” Betts said. “The guys behind me, you want to do things for them. As players, we’re all kind of one. We play the game. You just have to kind of pass the baton to the next guy and think about their family.”
Betts alluded to the fact today that getting extensions done are difficult and has yet to hint toward potentially getting one done before he hits the free-agent market following the 2020 season.
Mookie Betts on learning about Machado’s deal with the Padres: “There are still a lot of unsigned players, but it’s a step in the right direction.” Said the deal has no bearing on his future contract negotiations with the Red Sox at this point.
— David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield) February 19, 2019
And as the patterns are showing, and deals like Machado’s are getting done, it would frankly be foolish for Betts to accept an extension because once someone like him–who has shown no attitude issues, immense talent, and a marketable smile–Betts will shatter the bank and we will once again see record-breaking numbers.
Social media, of course, had plenty to say in regards to Betts’ future once the news about Machado’s new deal broke.
Ok if Manny “No Hustle or Heart” Machado gets $300 million how much is Mookie Betts gonna get. Get a big wallet ready @RedSox because Mookies gonna get it.
— matt parent (@junglefatty) February 19, 2019
Big winners from Machado news today are Nolan Arenado, Mookie Betts and Bryce Harper
— Brandon Wile (@Brandon_N_Wile) February 19, 2019
Mookie Betts should be happy about the Machado deal. It puts him in a position to possibly earn upwards of $400 million.
When asked about the deal, Betts said, “Good for him. He signed a contract, and he’s playing for the Padres.”
— Justin Leger (@justinjleger) February 19, 2019
Machado’s deal being the largest in American sports history should make Betts’ eyes light up. As he said in the aforementioned quote, he sees his future contract being something for other free agents to follow and build on. Does that mean that he will be using Machado’s deal as leverage for his own? Of course, he will.
At this point in his career, Betts knows his worth. In 2016, he was the runner up for the MVP and in 2018, he took home the award for himself.
The reigning American League MVP has also won three Gold Gloves, a batting title, and two Silver Slugger awards among others. Not to mention, he’s also a World Series champion and was a catalyst in what was a magical season for the Boston Red Sox.
Manny Machado’s contract? A potential nightmare situation for Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox front office. If they’re going to hold onto one of the top two players in baseball today come the 2020 offseason, the wallet will have to empty. Concession prices will have to be raised and ticket prices will once again climb for a seat at Fenway Park.
And who else is an unrestricted free-agent during the same offseason as Mookie Betts? Mike Trout, who will undoubtedly assist in driving Betts’ already foreseeable, incredibly lucrative, contract that much higher.
Do you like the sound of something near $400 million dollars, Red Sox fans? Because your right fielder could potentially cost that to retain after battling the feeding grounds of the free-agent market and the bidding frenzy that will take place.