By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Mookie Betts got his money, which was always his right. Nobody has ever suggested otherwise. But knowing what we know now, can we all agree that there was zero chance that Betts was ever going to get it in Boston?
First, the Red Sox weren’t going to give it to him, at least not when Betts signed an extension bigger than the one Mike Trout recently signed with the Los Angeles Angels.
And Betts didn’t care enough about playing in Boston to give the Red Sox any break if they got close.
Now, if you’re asking, I’m with the team on this one.
Look, we all like Betts as a player. The question is whether you love him enough to give him the biggest contract in baseball history. And before you go pointing out that the Los Angeles Angels had 12 years and $426 million committed to Trout by the start of the 2019 season, the devil, as usual, is in the details. Trout had $66 million remaining on existing deals at the time. The Angels tacked on 10 years and $360 million to bring the total to $426 million.
What the Dodgers just gave Mookie totals $365 million – a convenient $5 million more than Trout’s last extension – which means that Mookie just got the biggest single contract in baseball history. Bigger than even Mike Trout.
If you would have given him this, well … gold star for you. (And a dunce cap.) The Red Sox hardly deserve blame because they wouldn’t. Three or four years ago, all of the baseball geniuses out there were comparing the 5-foot-9 Betts to the 5-foot-10 Andrew McCutchen, who won the 2013 National League Most Valuable Player Award with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now that McCutchen has become a borderline big league starter – at age 32 last season – people have instead opted to compare Betts with the 5-foot-10 Willie Mays, regarded by many as the greatest player in the history of sport.
During his career, Mays hit 35 or more home runs on 10 occasions while winning 12 Gold Gloves in center field.
Mookie plays right and isn’t even the best player of his era.
He’s yet to hit 35 even once.
Here’s the point: enough of the hyperbole. Betts is gifted, to say the least. He’s not Trout. He’s not Mays.
And if he proves to be McCutchen, well, the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to look really, really stupid.
You can hear Tony Massarotti weekdays from 2-6 p.m. EST on the Felger & Massarotti program, as well as The Baseball Reporters from 6-7 p.m. during baseball season. Follow him on Twitter @TonyMassarotti.