One day after Mike Trout signed a 12-year, $430 million contract extension to remain with the Los Angeles Angels, Red Sox superstar Mookie Betts indicated to reporters on Wednesday that he rather wait to test free agency than sign an extension of his own.
“I don’t expect anything to happen till I’m a free agent,’ Betts said.
The 26-year-old outfielder is set to become a free agent for the first time following the 2020 season.
According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, Betts rejected a seven-year, $200 million extension from Boston after the 2017 season, which would have netted him approximately $28.6 million per year over the lifetime of that pact.
But now that the game’s best position player, Trout, is off the board with a contract that will net the Angels outfielder nearly $36 million per season, it appears that Betts may have the right idea heading into the winter of 2020/2021.
Red Sox executives have made it abundantly clear that they have reached out to Betts this offseason in hopes of reaching agreement on a long-term extension, but as Sherman reports, “the Betts camp (has) not even made a counter-proposal.”
If the year-to-year game is the one Betts wants to play, so be it. He’s already going to make $20 million during the 2019 season, the most for any player in their second year of arbitration eligibility.
This isn’t to say that the Tennessee native is as good as gone come the conclusion of the 2020 season, he said that himself.
“I love it here in Boston. It’s a great spot. I’ve definitely grown to love going up north in the cold. That doesn’t mean I want to sell myself short of my value.”
He doesn’t want to sell himself short of his value, which essentially sounds like any thought of taking a hometown discount is out the window.
Like the great philosopher David Price once said, Mookie Betts pretty much “holds the cards now.” It’s his decision to make and his alone.
If he wants to remain with the Red Sox and the Red sox want him to stay as well, then the club better be ready to pony up on a mega-deal of Trout-like proportions when the time comes in 2020.
If they aren’t willing to commit long-term to the reigning American League MVP, well, I rather not think about that right now.