The Mookie Betts news that we’ve all been anxiously waiting on has finally come down on us to the dismay of many. Betts, along with David Price, are headed out west to join the Dodgers, at least for the 2020 season.
With this deal dominating the sports news cycle, Jim Rice hopped on MLB Network Radio this morning and shared a piece of his conversation that he had with Betts on Tuesday night.
Hall of Famer Jim Rice spoke to Mookie Betts last night.
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) February 5, 2020
Betts tells Rice that he wanted to stay and that Boston is his home, but he understands that it’s a business deal.
This bit of their discussion we were given this morning can do one of two things. Number one–it can turn your stomach if you’re a Red Sox fan who is ready to storm John Henry’s office with a pitchfork. Or option two–you’re okay with one of the greatest talents to come through your farm system being apart of a trade simply because the team wants to find themselves below that $208 million luxury tax threshold. Now, obviously there’s more to why they dealt Betts than that, but that is a massive portion of the ballclub’s motive here, regardless of if they want to admit it.
There are reasons to be angry with the Red Sox right now. You’re losing Betts, a perennial talent who–at least according to this alleged conversation–claims that he wanted to remain in Boston. Meanwhile, the Red Sox payroll has sprinkled in some horrific contracts. One of those deals being to Nathan Eovaldi who pitched just 67.2 innings in 2019 while bringing home $17 million each year through 2022.
According to reports, the Red Sox offered Betts a contract of 10-years, $300 million. An offer he well . below market value. Betts camp then reportedly countered with a 12-year, $420 million deal which he had to know the Red Sox would shoot down.
This is where someone who claims he didn’t “want to go anyplace else” should have made more of an effort to get his wish by say, I don’t know, meeting the Sox somewhere in the middle.
Look, Betts is the 2018 MVP, a 4x Gold Glover, 3x Silver Slugger and World Series Champion. Frankly, nobody should blame Betts for wanting to test the open market. But demanding 12-years all but assured his time in Boston was over.
Now if what Betts tells Rice is true, there is an open window for him to return to the Red Sox in free agency next season.
But Betts reaching for 12-years indicated he wants to hit the open market and wants to see how much money he can actually bring home. And that’s completely fine, but if he truly did want to remain in Boston the willingness to negotiate could have, again, made that a reality.
Seeing Mookie Betts – a talent any team should pay top dollar for – in a Red Sox uniform for another nine years would be phenomenal. It’s tough to see the two sides unable to find common ground. The reality is though, a Betts, Boston reunion in 2021 isn’t as ridiculous as it may appear.
If the Red Sox truly didn’t feel like Mookie would re-sign back in Boston next offseason, I stick by my original column written this past weekend. Trading him for young, well-regarded talent is a move worth making. It’s better to get something in return rather than just watching him walk out the Fenway Park doors.