Sam Kennedy: Mookie Betts contract talks have not started yet

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com

Red Sox President Sam Kennedy says the team has not yet started up contract discussions with Mookie Betts as he enters his final year before free agency.

Speaking with Chris Cotillo of Mass Live at a press event in Springfield, Kennedy said he anticipates the team will approach Betts regarding his contract situation in the near future.

“I’m sure we’ll have conversations at the appropriate time,” Kennedy told Cotillo.

The news that the Sox haven't talked extension with Betts yet shouldn't come as a surprise. The team introduced new Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom just over a week ago and had the first major domino of the offseason, J.D. Martinez's decision not to opt-out of his contract, fall on Monday.

But now the work on Betts needs to begin.

The 2018 American League MVP will likely command a contract north of $300 million in free agency. The Red Sox will have to determine whether or not to offer Betts that type of deal, but there are still no guarantees that he would accept it. The Sox could also choose to trade him, which seems more likely than ever before with the team trying to cut payroll in 2020.

Betts is slated to make somewhere in the $27-$30 million range in his final year of salary arbitration.

The Red Sox have reportedly approached Betts with contract extensions in the past, but the two sides have not been able to come to an agreement.

“We love Mookie Betts,” Kennedy told Cotillo. “He’s such a special player and such a special person. We’ll continue to have conversations with him. He’s under club control and we’ll see what happens this offseason. We’ve engaged in discussions with him and his representatives in the past and we’ll continue to engage with them. We’ll see where it all takes us.”

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.