The Boston Red Sox could be looking to move on from Mookie Betts sooner rather than later.
The Boston Red Sox, a team considered to have the highest payroll in baseball, set an important goal for themselves this off season to decrease their overall salary and get below the collective bargaining tax threshold (CBT). Right now, the Red Sox have a payroll of $227.9 million with the intentions of dropping that down to $208 million.
After the Boston Red Sox and Mookie Betts avoided arbitration by agreeing on an MLB record $27 million deal this off season, the two sides have still been unable to agree on a long term deal. In fact, Mookie Betts has rejected three different contract offers from the Red Sox, which leaves us to believe he no longer wants to play in Boston anymore.
WEEI’s Lou Merloni reported that the Boston Red Sox and Mookie Betts are around $100 million dollars apart in their contract negotiations. In 2019, the Red Sox offered Betts a hefty 10-year, $300 million contract, to which he countered with 12-years and $420 million. That’s an unrealistic contract right now for the Boston Red Sox as they’re eager to be under the CBT.
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Mookie Betts believes he has the resume’ to be the next player to earn a contract worth more than $300 million. The former AL MVP, four-time Gold Glove recipient, three-time Silver Slugger, and World Series Champion, Betts has had a very productive career to this point and is priding himself on earning similar contracts to the ones of Bryce Harper (13yr/$330M) and Mike Trout (12yr/$430M).
The Boston Red Sox have already tried and failed in negotiating a long term contract with Betts, forcing him to become the nucleus of the trade negotiations this off-season. Mookie is also going to be a free agent next season, and knowing he doesn’t seem interested in playing in Boston any longer, this could be the only time for the Red Sox to get a decent return for the 28 year old, four-time All-Star.
There’s a lot more that needs to happen for the Red Sox to achieve their goals of getting under the CBT than just moving on from Mookie Betts. His one-year, $27 million contract isn’t holding the team back. What’s standing in the Red Sox’ way are the very rich contracts of David Price (7yr/$215M), Chris Sale (5yr/$145M) and even Nathan Eovaldi (4yr/$68M).
The Red Sox still owe three-years and $96 million to David Price and will likely try to include him in any trade package with Mookie Betts to get closer to the league’s CBT. But it’s going to be hard for a team to want a 34 year old left handed pitcher, who over the last four years has missed games due to various injuries: elbow inflammations, elbow tendinitis, elbow strains, and carpal tunnel.
In pulling off a trade like this, the Boston Red Sox are interested in accomplishing a few different things. Getting below the CBT is the main goal. But it’s also a chance for the team’s new Chief Baseball Operator, Chaim Bloom, to rebuild the team’s depleted farm system to help set themselves up for future years to come.
Mookie Betts has been linked to various different trade rumors this off season, but none more so than with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. Ideally, the Red Sox would likely be receiving an outfielder and a different positional player, along with a few prospects to send down to their farm system.
People aren’t realizing that Mookie Betts has become one of the best players in the MLB, and in my humble opinion, the second best player in the league behind Mike Trout. Over the last four years, Betts’ (33.8) is second in the league to Trout’s (35.5) in total WAR. Betts is an incredible talent and he wants to try to get the market value for what he brings to the table.