Boston Red Sox: Mookie Betts focused on 2018, not long-term deal

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 27: Mookie Betts
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 27: Mookie Betts /

After battling the team in arbitration hearing, Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts says he has “no hard feelings” towards the team.

 While the Boston Red Sox and Mookie Betts do not agree on his worth, there may still be a chance that the two sides eventually agree on a long-term deal.

Just a couple weeks after winning an arbitration hearing filled by the team, Betts opened up about the process and maintains he is cool with the team.  Of course, his mood is probably a lot better after winning arbitration than it might be if he lost and was given the $7.5 million the team filed for.

Awarded the $10.5 million he filed for, Betts says he learned a lot about himself as a player.  Most importantly, how the team viewed him.  Taking his own emotion out of the process, he valued the arbitration battle as a learning experience.

"“Just seeing that side of it is pretty interesting,” Betts told reporters Thursday.  “I like those type of things.  Kind of see how people debate.  There were no hard feelings.  Nothing wrong.  I love these guys.  Nothing changed.”"

Those are good words to hear, even if just on the surface.  Combined with the fact that he turned down a 5-year, $100 million contract, it is easy to view the arbitration tug-of-war with the Red Sox as a precursor to Betts’ dismay with the team as far as his value go.

As of now, he can’t become a free agent till 2020.  That gives the team some time to sweeten the deal.  It also gives Betts time to further prove his value in the field and at the plate.  In the meantime, any disagreement with the team is strictly business according to the 2016 AL MVP runner up.

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"“Not at all,” Betts said when asked if the arbitration deal affected any longterm issues with the team.  “It’s just two sides.  Two people can not agree.  “That’s OK.  That’s just part of life.  It happened twice.  That’s OK.  I love it here.  I love the guys here.  Right now I’m just worried about 2018.”"

More fun in 2018

Speaking of the 2018 season, Mookie Betts all but admitted that there was tension in the locker room last season.  Much of that could be attributed to the managing style of former Red Sox manager John Farrell.

With Alex Cora taking over the reins, someone who can relate to the players, Betts feels the team could have a much more run playing the game this season.

"“I think just tension in the locker room as far as if things are down,” Betts said, via the Boston Herald.  “We have to find a way to smile and go out and refocus on the game now vs. kinda what’s been going on.  I think this year will be a little different.  I’m going to approach things a little differently as far as, if I’m not playing well or if we’re losing or whatnot, I can do my best to try and find a way to get everybody back happy, smiling, excited and going to play.”"

Sounds like Mookie Betts wants to be the type of player David Ortiz was during his long career with the Red Sox.

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If he has the kind of season he had back in 2016, he can lead by example through his production.  Within that, the smiles will come and so will the winning.