Boston Red Sox

Oct 28, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts (50) celebrates with outfielder Andrew Benintendi (16) after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com

The prevailing narrative in the 12-ish hours since the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers is that it was a business decision that had to be made. Betts wanted to hit the open market next winter, and regardless of what they did the Red Sox were going to lose him for nothing if they didn’t trade him now.

For the first time since rumors of the deal began however, there is now conflicting evidence. Former Red Sox outfielder and current NESN analyst Jim Rice joined MLB Network Radio Wednesday morning to share a conversation he had with Betts following Tuesday night’s trade.

“I asked him about [the trade],” Rice told The Leadoff Spot. “He came out and said, ‘Look this is my home. I don’t want to go anywhere else. I don’t care what people have said or what they’re talking about, this is my home. And I want to stay here.’ And then I talked to him last night and he said ‘Look, I’m gonna tell you, and I told you before, I wanted to stay.’ And he said it was a business deal. And he said ‘I can’t do anything about it. It was a business deal and they chose to go that way, and I have to accept it.’”

You can listen to the full clip here:

This contradicts the narrative so far that the Red Sox offers to Betts, while not quite market value, were in a realistic ballpark. If Betts really wanted to stay in Boston and not go to free agency, wouldn’t it be assumed there would be a ‘hometown discount’ involved. After all, Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia each took less to stay in recent years.

If what Betts says here is true, it’s realistic to expect the Red Sox to be in the discussion to sign him next offseason. However, if he signs an extension with the Dodgers or takes a deal comparable to what the Red Sox offered in years past to go elsewhere, this just serves as another twist of the knife.

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Hate mail? Let him hear it on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.