The Boston Red Sox actually pulled the trigger and traded Mookie Betts. It will be a move that haunts them for a long time, as they watch one of the best players in the game tear it up on the West Coast.
The Mookie Betts trade rumors always felt like a negotiating tool. It felt like the Boston Red Sox were dangling the fact he could be dealt as a way to show him that he needed to temper his monetary expectations.
The problem with that is the market was setting itself, and Betts is quickly becoming not only one of the best players on this generation, but he’s also one of the most likable. Now, all those qualities are going to Los Angeles in a deal this franchise is going to regret for a long time, no matter what happens.
When you combine the marketability of a young star in a sport looking for more of them and the fact that he was dominant at the plate, you have a superstar that will shine for another decade minimum.
Yes, he was going to ask for market value in free agency next offseason, when he will likely be paid north of $400 million on a 10-12 year deal, but there is no salary cap in baseball. Teams just have to give up money. The Red Sox weren’t willing to do that for their homegrown former MVP.
Verdugo was a fine player for the Dodgers, hitting just under .300 last season, and Graterol is the number three prospect in the Twins system. This isn’t the “knock your socks off” deal that rumors said the Red Sox were demanding. This is a cash dump of the most epic proportions.
We’ll surely hear about all of the crazy “demands” Betts made in recent months. That’s been a popular strategy from this franchise in the past when they let some of their franchise stars go. It’s not the most fair point, but it has been effective in the past.
However, what’s the worst they can say about this guy? That Betts wanted to be the highest paid player in baseball? He deserves to be. He’s 27 years old, which means even if you pay him for a full 10 years, he’s going to only get overpaid out of his prime for two or three years. This isn’t the Alex Rodriguez contract where we all knew it was going to collapse at the end. This is a message in prosperity.
This isn’t the Tampa Bay Rays crying poor and sending a player to another team one year too early over one year too late. This is one of the richest franchises in sports saying goodbye to one of the biggest stars.
David Price was included in this deal, which is a reminder that this was all about money. Price went 46-24 with a 3.84 ERA in four seasons in Boston. That’s not worth his salary, but what is worth his salary is his 1.98 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in the 2018 World Series. Teams need that second and third pitcher who step it up when it matters most and the Dodgers were apparently happy to take on Price.
The Red Sox shed the salary of Price’s $96 million over three years, and whatever contract Betts is going to get (he’s making $27 million this season). This move actually puts the Red Sox under the luxury tax, but they still have $162 million committed to a lineup and rotation that’s much, much worse.
Now it doesn’t matter what the Red Sox do this year. They won the World Series two years ago, and now the team looks completely different. The GM was fired over last year’s debacle of a repeat attempt. Alex Cora is no longer the manager because of a major cheating scandal that might lead him to getting suspended for up to two years. And now the team’s star is gone because of money.
This is the Boston Red Sox, and they lost a star because of dollars. Say what you want, but the Evil Empire in the Bronx would never let this happen.