By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
Boston outfielder Mookie Betts may have played his last game in a Red Sox uniform.
With the Sox trying to slash payroll ahead of the 2020 season (but remember, it’s not a bridge year), with Betts staring down the barrel of yet another massive arbitration award (Betts made over $20 million in 2019 via arbitration), and with the Red Sox entering their last year of team control of the 26-year-old superstar, it feels entirely possible. If not likely, depending on how serious they are about avoiding that competitive balance tax penalty next year.
Even Betts’ teammates understand the rather uncomfortable situation that faces the Red Sox this offseason.
“I think everyone knows we don’t think they’re going to be able to afford Mookie,” J.D. Martinez, who could also be on the way out of Boston this offseason, told NBC Sports Boston’s John Tomase. “It’s one of those things. It’s kind of hard to have three guys making $30 million on your team.”
(That’s Martinez referencing the deals for lefties David Price and Chris Sale. Price’s deal, which runs through 2022, counts for at least $31 million on Boston’s books, while Sale’s new six-year extension counts for $30 million for the first three years, and never dips below $20 million, assuming the vesting option is indeed on the books in 2025.)
“He deserves it,” Martinez said of Betts potentially making $30 million on his next deal. “He’s earned it.”
Well, that’s something. And if it’s something Martinez is comfortable saying on the record, you know it’s something the rest of Mookie’s teammates have either discussed with one another or acknowledged as a possibility.
It would almost be impossible for the Red Sox, who reportedly plan on raising ticket prices for the 2020 season according to Jason Mastrodonato, to get market value for Betts, all things considered. Betts would essentially be a rental for the team the Sox trade him to, and there are only five to six players quite like Betts. In all of baseball.
Betts is a career .301 hitter, four-time All-Star, two-time Silver Slugger, three-time Gold Glove winner, and won American League Most Valuable Player honors in 2018.