Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy,

Bryce Harper has signed. Manny Machado has signed. Nolan Arenado has signed.

Mookie Betts is next, and now his market is officially set.

Your move, Red Sox.

Harper’s 13-year, $330 million contract is the largest contract in baseball history, surpassing Giancarlo Stanton’s 13-year, $325 million deal. But Harper’s contract will not make him the highest-paid position player in baseball annually, that honor now belongs to Colorado’s Nolan Arenado, who signed an extension this week that will pay him $32.5 million per year for the next eight years.

The Red Sox will have to top both contracts to keep Betts in Boston beyond the 2020 season.

10-years, $340 million is where this discussion now begins. It’s time for the Red Sox to have that discussion with Betts.

There’s no point in offering anything less and there’s no point in waiting two years to find out if Betts plans on sticking around or not.

Put the offer on the table now.

Sep 24, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts (50) hits a two run homer against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

There is little chance that Betts’ market will change between now and the end of 2020. It certainly won’t go down, and it can only go up in the event Mike Trout signs a contract extension with the Angels (Trout, too, is due for free agency in two years).

The Red Sox need to decide if they’re willing to pay Betts what he’s worth. If they aren’t willing to make the reigning American League Most Valuable Player the highest paid player in the history of baseball, somebody else will.

He’s worth $340 million. He’s worth $350 million if it comes to that. I only hope the Red Sox agree.

The Sox have a long history of letting face-of-the-franchise players walk out the door. Roger Clemens was in the twilight of his career, Fred Lynn was traded to California, Carlton Fisk landed with the White Sox, and we really don’t have to rehash baseball’s original sin in 1919, do we?

John Henry, Dave Dombrowski and company know what they have to offer to keep Betts off that list of Red Sox greats who have gone on to play elsewhere.

The market has been set. Get it done.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.