Boston Red Sox should pay Mookie Betts whatever he asks for

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Mookie Betts
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Mookie Betts /

The Boston Red Sox and right fielder Mookie Betts will head to arbitration after a failure to come to an agreement before the deadline.

I don’t need to tell you that the Boston Red Sox have won the AL East in back to back seasons. I also don’t need to remind you of their premature exits in the playoffs both years.

No, those wounds are still fresh. Now, it’s up to the Red Sox front office to put together a team that can not only secure a divisional three-peat but make the push past the ALDS and ultimately to the World Series.

While it’s easy to focus on blockbuster trades and big free agent signings, the offseason is about more than just that.

One of the biggest obstacles teams face during the offseason is figuring out how much to pay their players. The Red Sox handled their business pretty well, but they failed to settle with their most important player: Mookie Betts.

Mookie filed at $10.5 million for the 2018 season, but the Red Sox felt that was too expensive. They countered with a $7.5 million offer. The two sides could not come to an agreement and now Betts is the only arbitration-eligible player on the Sox without a deal.

Now, I’m no MLB executive. But I believe the Red Sox should pay Mookie whatever it takes to keep him around. If they’re not going to spend money on a free agent, they might as well pay their stars a little extra to avoid arbitration.

For reference, Jackie Bradley Jr. and the Sox settled at $6.1 million. Is Mookie really only $1.4 million more valuable than JBJ? Apparently, that’s what the Red Sox think.

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In 2017, Mookie led the Red Sox in home runs, RBIs, walks, doubles, stolen bases, offensive WAR, defensive WAR, hits, and runs scored. If you take out guys who played fewer than 60 games, he also led in slugging and OPS. Did I miss anything?

Did I mention he’s been an All-Star and a Gold Glove Award winner the past two seasons? No? My deepest apologies.

So forgive me for disagreeing with the elite analytical minds of the Red Sox front office. If it takes $3 million extra to keep Mookie satisfied, do it. In the words of Teddy KGB from Rounders, “pay that man his money”. It doesn’t seem like they’re gonna spend it on anything else.

Next: 5 Red Sox with the most to prove in 2018

At just 25 years old, Mookie has his best years ahead of him. The Boston Red Sox should do whatever it takes to make sure those years happen at Fenway. No need to split hairs over his contract.