Red Sox, Kiké Hernández reach agreement on one-year, $10 million contract extension

UPDATE: The extension is now official, per a club announcement.

The Red Sox and center fielder Enrique Hernandez have reached agreement on a one-year, $10 million contract extension, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Hernandez, who was slated to become a free-agent at the end of the season, will now remain in Boston through the end of the 2023 campaign. The veteran utility man originally signed a two-year, $14 million deal with the Sox last February after spending the previous six seasons with the Dodgers.

At that time, it was believed that Hernandez would take over as Boston’s everyday second baseman while providing depth at other positions. He instead emerged as an elite center fielder and wound up leading a Red Sox team that was two wins away from a World Series appearance in bWAR (4.9) in 2021.

On the heels of such a promising season, Hernandez had the chance to establish himself as one of the top position players in this winter’s free-agent class. Injuries, among other factors, prevented that from happening.

Through June 7 of this season, Hernandez was slashing just .209/.273/.340 with 16 doubles, four home runs, 24 RBIs, 27 runs scored, 18 walks, and 38 strikeouts over 51 games (238 plate appearances. The following day, the 31-year-old was placed on the 10-day injured list due to a right hip flexor strain.

Exactly one month after hitting the IL, Hernandez began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester. But he was pulled from it after just one game and was sent to see a hip specialist in New York, where he received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection to speed up the healing process.

Beyond the flexor strain, Hernandez also dealt with a core injury that led to to a hematoma developing in one of his abdominal muscles and approximately 16 cubic centimeters of blood being drained through a needle in his back. He was transferred to the 60-day injured list on July 23 and was later sent out on a rehab assignment with Double-A Portland in early August.

After a brief four-game stint with the Sea Dogs, Hernandez returned to the Red Sox in Pittsburgh on Aug. 16. Since then, the right-handed hitter has batted .254/.318/.407 with three doubles, two homers, 13 RBIs, eight runs scored, six walks, and 20 strikeouts over his last 17 games.

Given his versatility, it is certainly no surprise that the Red Sox elected to lock up Hernandez now as opposed to later. The native Puerto Rican can play all over the field, which should allow Chaim Bloom and Co. to maintain a flexible and creative approach to the upcoming off-season.

Hernandez, who does not turn 32 until next August, was among a sizable group of Red Sox players set to hit the open market this winter. With Hernandez now signed, Boston is still faced with losing the likes of Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, Tommy Pham, Kevin Plawecki, Nathan Eovaldi, Michael Wacha, Rich Hill, and Matt Strahm in free agency.

As noted by both Passan and’s Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox are expected to have one of the busiest off-seasons in baseball on account of impending departures and a “massive” amount of financial flexibility.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign Garrett Whitlock to four-year extension; deal includes club options for 2027 and 2028

The Red Sox have signed right-hander Garrett Whitlock to a four-year contract extension, the club announced earlier Sunday morning. The deal covers the 2023-2026 seasons and also includes club options for 2027 and 2028.

According to’s Chris Cotillo, Whitlock’s deal — which starts in 2023 — includes escalators based on number of innings pitched and award recognition and can max out at $44.5 million over six years.

Whitlock, per Cotillo, will receive a signing bonus of $1 million upfront. His 2022 salary of $720,000 will not be affected by the extension, but he will then earn $1 million in 2023, $3.25 million in 2024, $5.25 million in 2025, and $7.25 million in 2026. The club option for 2027 is worth $8.25 million and comes with a $1 million buyout while the club option for 2028 is worth $10.5 million and comes with a $500,000 buyout.

In regards to the escalators, Cotillo notes that Whitlock’s options can increase by up to $2.5 million per year based on the cumulative number of innings he pitches from 2023-2026 as well as recognition he receives for certain awards. All told, each year’s option can increase by a maximum of $4 million per season.

Whitlock, who the Red Sox selected from the Yankees organization in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, was originally slated to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2026 season. By signing him to this extension, though, the Sox can now retain control of Whitlock through 2028.

A native of Georgia, Whitlock broke in with Boston last year and immediately made his impact felt as a rookie out of the bullpen. In the process of becoming one of Alex Cora’s most trusted relievers, the 25-year-old righty posted a stellar 1.96 ERA and 2.84 FIP to go along with 81 strikeouts to 17 walks over 46 appearances spanning 73 1/3 innings of work.

Early on in the 2022 campaign, Whitlock is once again set up for a high-leverage, late-inning spot in Cora’s bullpen. That said, the structure of this complex extension seems to indicate the Red Sox still view Whitlock as a starter in the long-term. As Cotillo puts it, “the innings-related escalators are based on Whitlock accumulating a significant number of innings as a starter.”

If Whitlock remains with the Sox through the end of the 2028 season, he will have the opportunity to become a free agent for the first time at the age of 32. When that time comes, he may have already established himself as an effective starter at the big-league level.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox, Rafael Devers remain ‘very far off’ in contract extension talks, per report

The Red Sox and star third baseman Rafael Devers apparently remain far apart in contract extension talks as Opening Day nears.

Earlier Wednesday evening, Hector Gomez of Z Deportes, a Dominican-based news outlet, tweeted that the Red Sox made Devers an extension offer but Devers rejected it” because it was lower than he is willing to consider.”

Shortly thereafter,’s Chris Cotillo confirmed Gomez’s report, writing that the Sox recently made an extension offer to Devers, but the two sides are currently “very far off in negotiations.”

This news comes two days after Devers told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier that although he and his camp have discussed a long-term deal with the Sox this spring, he did not expect an agreement to come together before Opening Day.

“We had a conversation with the team,” Devers said to Speier (through translator Carlos Villoria-Benítez). “We didn’t get to anything. But I still have one more year. I have this one and the next year. And I’m ready to play with Boston, with the Red Sox. We’re not going to talk about it [more] this spring. Let’s see how this season goes.”

Devers is set to earn $11.2 million in 2022 after agreeing to a one-year deal to avoid salary arbitration last month. The 25-year-old All-Star remains under club control for two more years and is eligible to become a free-agent at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

A client of Rep 1 Baseball, the left-handed hitting Devers just put the finishing touches on an impressive spring in which he clubbed six home runs, collected 12 RBIs, and posted a 1.512 OPS over 12 games (32 plate appearances) in the Grapefruit League.

It would seem as though Devers is on the verge of another productive year at the plate, as Gomez also reports that the Silver Slugger Award winner has shifted his focus to the 2022 season as he looks “to further increase his market value.”

Along those same lines, Cotillo writes that Devers and the Red Sox are unlikely to engage further in extension talks prior to Opening Day on Friday, noting that the former does not want to “talk about a long-term deal once the regular season begins.”

Considering that Devers is not eligible for free agency for another two seasons, there is obviously still plenty of time for the Red Sox to get a deal done. As noted by Cotillo, these recent developments may suggest that Boston is indeed serious about locking up Devers long-term.

Although the two sides may be far apart in negotiations at the moment, Sox officials — including chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom — have made it very clear that they would like players such as Devers and Xander Bogaerts (who can opt out of his deal and become a free agent this winter) to stay in Boston for the foreseeable future.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox avoid arbitration with all eligible players, including Rafael Devers

The Red Sox have avoided arbitration with all five of their arbitration-eligible players heading into the 2022 season, the club announced on Tuesday.

Boston was able to come to terms with pitchers Nick Pivetta and Josh Taylor, infielders Christian Arroyo and Rafael Devers, and outfielder Alex Verdugo on Tuesday, thus avoiding a possible hearing. They did the same with reliever Ryan Brasier and catcher Kevin Plawecki prior to last November’s non-tender deadline.

Pivetta, 29, was entering his first season of arbitration eligibility and was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $3.2 million in 2022. The right-hander will instead net $2.65 million this year, according to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel.

Taylor, 29, was also entering his first season of arbitration eligibility and was projected by MLBTR to earn $1.1 million in 2022. The left-handed reliever may not be ready for the start of the season due to a back issue, but he will be making $1.025 million this year regardless, per McDaniel.

Arroyo is another first-year arbitration-eligible player. The 26-year-old second baseman was projected by MLBTR to also earn $1.1 million in 2022. He has instead avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $1.2 million salary for the upcoming season, according to the Boston Sports Journal’s Sean McAdam.

Devers is undoubtedly the most notable name on this list and the most expensive as well. As a second-year arbitration-eligible player, the 25-year-old All-Star was projected by MLBTR to earn $11.1 million in 2022 — representing a 143% raise from the $4.575 million he made in 2021.

There were some rumblings that Devers and the Red Sox were not going to come to an agreement on a salary figure for the 2022 season ahead of Tuesday’s 1 p.m. eastern time deadline and would instead be going to an arbitration hearing. Those concerns turned out to be premature, though, as the two sides have since settled on a $11.2 million salary for the year, according to’s Mark Feinsand.

Finally, we arrive at Verdugo, who is also embarking upon his first season of arbitration eligibility. The 25-year-old was projected by MLBTR to earn $3.2 million in 2022 but will actually make a little more than that at $3.55 million, per’s Chris Cotillo.

These agreements do not preclude the Red Sox from engaging in contract extension talks with any of the aforementioned players leading up to Opening Day on April 7. This is particularly prevalent for Devers, who can become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign closer Matt Barnes to two-year contract extension that includes club option for 2024

The Red Sox have signed closer Matt Barnes to a two-year contract extension that includes a club option for the 2024 season, the team announced Sunday morning.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier was the first to report that the two sides were nearing a deal.

Per Speier, the official terms of Barnes’ deal are $18.75 million over two years with an option, meaning the reliever will earn $7.25 million in 2022 and an additional $7. 5 million in 2023.

On top of that, the club option for a potential third season in worth $8 million, though the Red Sox could opt to buy Barnes out for an approximate $2.25 million if they so choose.

Additionally, Barnes will net himself an instant $1.75 million in the form of a signing bonus, while escalators based off games finished over the course of the contract can increase the value of the club option to $10 million — a $2 million raise, potentially.

All that being said, the total value of Barnes’ new deal can reach $26.5 million over three seasons if the right-hander reaches his escalators and has his option picked up, as noted by’s Chris Cotillo.

At the very least, the total amount of guaranteed money included in Barnes’ extension is $18.75 million, as noted by Speier.

Barnes, who turned 31 last month, is in the midst of a career year in which he was selected to his very first All-Star team last weekend.

Coming into play on Sunday, the fiery righty has posted a 2.68 ERA and 2.07 xFIP to go along with 62 strikeouts to just 10 walks over 37 relief appearances spanning 37 total innings of work this season. He has also converted 19 of a possible 23 save opportunities.

Among qualified American League relievers, Barnes ranks 18th in appearances, third in strikeouts, third in strikeouts per nine innings (15.08), first in strikeout percentage (44.6%), seventh in batting average against (.171), sixth in WHIP (0.86), 21st in ERA, first in expected ERA (1.76), fourth in FIP (2.04), first in xFIP, first in SIERA (1.71), and second in fWAR (1.7), per FanGraphs.

The Red Sox originally selected Barnes with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft out of the University of Connecticut.

Since making his major-league debut in 2014, Barnes has emerged as one of the more consistent and durable relievers in Boston’s bullpen, which ultimately helped him land the closer role heading into the 2021 season.

While he has excelled in that role thus far, Barnes, who was in his final year of team control, will not be hitting the open market this winter as he was originally slated to do. Instead, he will remain with the organization he began his professional career with through at least the 2023 season.

Barnes had said previously that he was interested in signing an extension with the Red Sox to remain with the club long-term, and that is what winds up happening in a rare in-season announcement.

(Picture of Matt Barnes: Theoron W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts named third-best shortstop in baseball by MLB Network

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts was ranked by MLB Network as the No. 3 shortstop in baseball headed into the 2021 season on Tuesday night.

Finishing behind the likes of Rockies star Trevor Story and Padres sensation Fernando Tatis Jr., Bogaerts is coming off yet another quality campaign in 2020.

Across 56 games played last year, the 28-year-old posted a .300/.364/.502 slash line to go along with 11 home runs and 28 RBI over 225 total plate appearances.

2020 marked the third consecutive season in which Bogaerts finished with an on-base percentage north of .360, a slugging percentage north of .500, and an OPS+ exceeding 130. He finished in the top-20 in American League MVP voting in each of those three seasons.

Going back to Opening Day 2018, the Aruban infielder has accrued 13.6 fWAR in 347 total games played, the second-highest fWAR total among qualified major-league shortstops behind only Francisco Lindor, who accrued 14.0 fWAR in 361 games played with the Indians over that same stretch.

Bogaerts would likely be at the top of FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboards if the defensive metrics fell in line with what he did on the field.

As MLB Network’s Brian Kenny put it Tuesday night, “the defensive metrics do not like [Bogaerts]. Maybe it’s accurate, maybe not quite. But otherwise he would be a WAR leader as well.”

Last year alone, Bogaerts posted negative-5 defensive runs saved and an ultimate zone rating of just 0.3 over 438 innings at shortstop. He also registered negative-2 outs above average at the position, per Baseball Savant.

With spring training set to begin in just a few short weeks, the two-time All-Star is certainly not at risk of losing his starting job, but that doesn’t mean lofty expectations will be placed upon him heading into the new season.

Just ask Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

“Xander, for instance, when you talk about about the shortstops around the league and now you add [Corey] Seager to that equation, he’s up there with them,” Cora said of Bogaerts back in November. “Maybe the next step for us is to push Xander to be a better defender — and he’s not a bad defender — but to become an elite defender.”

Bogaerts, who does not turn 29 until October, is entering the second year of the six-year, $120 million contract extension he signed with Boston shortly after the start of the 2019 season.

He also has the option to opt out of his contract and become a free-agent at the conclusion of the 2022 season.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox, Rafael Devers avoid arbitration with $4.575 million deal for 2021

The Red Sox and third baseman Rafael Devers have avoided salary arbitration, as the two sides reached agreement on a $4.575 million contract for the 2021 season, according to’s Mark Feinsand

UPDATE: It’s official now.

Devers, 24, was entering his first season of arbitration eligibility. He was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn approximately $6.3 million in 2021.

Had Devers and the Red Sox not settled on a dollar figure by Friday’s deadline, the two sides would have had to appear in front of an arbitrator sometime next month in order to determine the infielder’s salary for the upcoming season.

Prior to Friday’s deadline, Devers had been the only arbitration-eligible player the Sox had yet to come to terms with, as the club signed the likes of Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Austin Brice, Kevin Plawecki, and Eduardo Rodriguez to contracts in December.

Per’s Chris Cotillo, neither Boston nor Devers’ camp talked about a potential long-term contract extension leading up to Friday’s agreement. The Dominican national’s agent, Nelson Montes de Oca of REP1 Baseball, said as much when speaking with The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier last week.

“We haven’t talked about 2021 or a multiyear deal right now,” Montes de Oca said. “Right now he’s just concentrated on getting in shape for 2021 and put in the best season and helping the team win. We haven’t talked or thought about any multiyear deal at this point.”

Despite the notion that there have been no talks about an extension to this point, the two sides are free to explore that possibility in the meantime. Though, as noted by Cotillo, “conversations about those types of contracts usually take place before or during spring training and are tabled before the beginning of the season.”

As of this writing, Devers is eligible to become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 campaign.

For now, the former top prospect will prepare to embark on his fifth big-league season (fourth full) as he reunites with manager Alex Cora.

According to Speier, Devers is currently working out in Tampa to prepare for the season. The start of spring training is just a few short weeks away, after all.

By reaching an agreement with Devers, the Red Sox — or any players on the team for that matter — won’t have to attend any arbitration hearings this spring for the first time since 2019.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox have yet to talk to Rafael Devers about long-term contract extension, third baseman’s agent says

The Red Sox have yet to engage Rafael Devers about a potential long-term extension, the third baseman’s agent, Nelson Montes de Oca of REP1 Baseball, told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Devers, who turned 24 in October, is about to enter his first season of arbitration eligibility and is on track to reach free agency at the conclusion of the 2023 season.

After he was tendered a contract last month, Devers’ camp and the Red Sox have until this coming Friday to exchange arbitration figures, meaning there is still time — before and after the end of this week — for the two sides to reach agreement on an appropriate salary for the 2021 campaign.

“We haven’t talked about 2021 or a multiyear deal right now,” Montes de Oca told Speier. “Right now he’s just concentrated on getting in shape for 2021 and put in the best season and helping the team win. We haven’t talked or thought about any multiyear deal at this point.”

Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.5 million in 2013, Devers is coming off a rather underwhelming 2020 season — his fourth (third full) in the majors — after finishing 12th in American League MVP voting the year before.

Over a team-leading 57 games played, the left-handed hitting infielder slashed .263/.310/.483 with 11 home runs, 16 doubles, and 43 RBI over 57 games and 248 plate appearances. He also committed 14 errors while posting negative-6 defensive runs saved in 475 innings patrolling the hot corner, as noted by’s Christopher Smith.

Some of those defensive struggles can be linked to a left ankle injury Devers suffered in August, which resulted in him missing a few games.

“That affected his range and throwing mechanics,” writes Speier. “He committed three throwing errors in a game shortly after his return to the field and made nine in total after returning. While there was no structural damage serious enough to keep him out of the lineup, Devers nonetheless struggled through the end of the year.”

Despite dealing with those aforementioned ankle issues towards the latter half of the 2020 season, Devers is apparently on track to be ready for spring training come February. He’s even headed to Tampa Bay later this month to get some work in with a personal trainer.

“He’s 100% now,” Montas de Oca said of his client. “He’s getting ready to have a really good 2021 season. He takes pride on helping the team win and hopefully bringing another championship. He loves that team. He loves the city and loves the fans.”

Back in October, MLB Trade Rumors projected that Devers would earn approximately $3.4 million in his first season of arbitration eligibility. We will have to wait and see if that projection comes to fruition in the coming weeks.

(Photo of Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Dustin Pedroia’s Red Sox career could be nearing its conclusion

Dustin Pedroia’s time on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster could be coming to an end relatively soon.

The 37-year-old second baseman was activated from the 60-day injured list along with five others late last month, which brought Boston’s 40-man roster up to 37 players.

Clubs have until this coming Friday, November 20, to protect Rule 5-eiligible minor-leaguers from this year’s Rule 5 Draft, or in other words, add them to their 40-man roster.

As currently constructed, the Sox have three open slots on their 40-man with upwards of 50 prospects in need of Rule-5 protection. Obviously, the math does not check out here, and the majority of those 50-plus minor-leaguers will be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft come December.

There are however a select handful of Red Sox prospects who will need to be protected, as they are regarded as some of the more promising young players in the club’s minor-league pipeline.

Left-hander Jay Groome, right-hander Bryan Mata, infielder Hudson Potts, outfielder Jeisson Rosario, right-hander Connor Seabold, and catcher Connor Wong are the six key prospects in this scenario.

Groome and Mata, both of whom signed with the Red Sox in 2016, are regarded by MLB Pipeline as the top two active pitching prospects in Boston’s farm system.

The other four — Potts, Rosario, Seabold, and Wong — have all been acquired by the Sox via trade(s) within the last 12 months, so it’s highly unlikely the club would want to risk losing any of them.

There could be other, lesser-known minor-leaguers the Sox consider worthy of a 40-man roster spot, as was the case with lefty Kyle Hart last year. But, for the sake of this exercise, let’s assume that the Red Sox have six players they would like to add to the 40-man with only three vacancies to work with.

This means that, in some capacity, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom will presumably look to reshuffle his team’s 40-man roster between now and Friday.

Players who are currently on the 40-man could either get traded, designated, or outrighted within the next five days, but those same players could also help another team if they wind up in the right situation.

There is plenty of risk involved in this process, but there is one route Bloom and Co. could take that could help mitigate that risk just a little bit. That being, take Pedroia, among others off the 40-man roster.

The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham reported last month that Pedroia and the Red Sox “are prepared to talk soon about a mutual understanding that would end his playing career.”

Though WEEI’s Rob Bradford later added on to that report by stating that “nothing” had yet to have been discussed between the two sides, a mutual agreement of some sorts here certainly makes sense from the Red Sox’ point of view.

Pedroia, a former MVP, has played in just nine total games over the last three seasons on account of issues with his left knee. He’s undergone three knee surgeries since 2017.

As he enters the final year of the eight-year, $110 million contract extension he signed with Boston back in 2013, it appears that the former second-round draft pick will be unable to play in 2021, or again, on account of how inactive he has been recently.

With that in mind, the Sox may look to reach some sort of settlement with Pedroia so that they can get out from some of the $12 million they owe him next year while also freeing up a 40-man roster spot for someone who can consistently contribute.

This is not exactly a fun scenario to consider, as Pedroia has proven to be one of the Red Sox’ undisputed leaders and all-time greats in his 15 or so years with the club, but it may be time to move on and have the four-time Gold Glover transition to a front office or coaching role within the organization, if possible.

Red Sox general manager Brian O’Halloran addressed this very issue in September, and he emphasized the notion that Pedroia will have a say in what the future holds for him as a Red Sox.

“I don’t think that any one particular roster spot is something I would focus on as a problem and certainly not when it’s Dustin Pedroia,” O’Halloran said. “We’re going to talk to Dustin and he’s obviously going to have the most say in where things go from here. No. 1 is making sure he’s as healthy as he can be for the rest of his life, really. And certainly we want to talk to him and see how he’s feeling and see where he wants to go from here.”

In short, Friday’s Rule 5 deadline will serve as a key indicator for where the Red Sox currently stand with Pedroia and the four-time All-Star’s status moving forward.

Other players are likely to get moved around, too, but Pedroia is without a doubt the most significant figure whose spot on Boston’s 40-man roster could be in jeopardy. We will have to wait and see what Bloom and Co. have in store.

Opinion: Mookie Betts Saying He Thought He Was ‘Going To Be a Red Sox for Life’ Does Not Exactly Add up When Looking Back at His Time in Boston

Before winning his second World Series title in three years and his first as a member of the Dodgers Tuesday night, former Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts sat down with former teammate-turned-FOX Sports personality David Ortiz this past weekend.

Among the topics discussed in this virtual interview were Betts’ thoughts on playing in Los Angeles, his approach on and off the field, what he likes the most about his game, and of course, the trade that sent him to the Dodgers in the first place.

“Man, I got to tell you, Mook,” Ortiz said. “It’s hard for me to see you in that Dodgers uniform, but you look good in a Dodgers uniform. Did you ever think you were going to spend the next 12 years wearing that Dodgers uniform?”

Betts, in response, admitted he never thought that was going to happen.

“No,” he said. “I had initially thought that I was going to be a Red Sox for life. But, God always has a plan for things so I was following what he tells me to do.”

Here is the problem with that statement: Betts very well could have remained with the Red Sox for the remainder of his major-league career if he so chose.

Before dealing him to Los Angeles, the Sox made multiple attempts to keep the four-time All-Star in Boston for the foreseeable future.

In 2017, they offered him a five-year, $100 million extension. He rejected it. In 2018, they offered him an eight-year, $200 million extension. He rejected it. In the spring of 2019, they offered him an extension upwards of $300 million over 10 years. He did not reject it, and instead countered with $420 million over 12 years, according to WEEI’s Lou Merloni.

So here we have at least three instances where the Red Sox tried to retain Betts’ services for 2020 and beyond, and by the time we arrive at that third instance, the two sides are an apparent $120 million apart in negotiations.

By making the decision to not commit $400-plus million to one player, the Red Sox found themselves in a position where they essentially had to trade Betts or else they would risk losing him the following winter for nothing outside of a compensatory draft pick.

Trading Betts is the choice the Red Sox ultimately made in February, but it is difficult to not think that the 28-year-old could have done more to prevent that from happening.

If at one point in time Betts saw himself a member of the Red Sox for his entire professional career, why not make more of a push to remain with the only organization he had ever known?

If Betts is calling up Jim Rice before the trade and telling him ‘This is my home. I don’t want to go anyplace else,’ why not make more of an effort to see that through?

If Betts never wanted to leave Boston in the first place, why, when discussing the legacies of franchise legends like Ortiz and Carl Yastrzemski last September, say ‘You can be remembered in that same fashion even if you put on a couple different jerseys’ and all but tease the idea of playing for another team relatively soon?

One thing that became apparent in Betts’ final season with the Sox is that he appeared to be all in on becoming a free agent at the end of the 2020 campaign. Had the COVID-19 pandemic not hit, he likely would have done that. However, due to the financial concerns the pandemic has created across the country, not just in baseball, it’s possible that Betts’ outlook on things changed after he was traded.

On the surface, the 12-year, $365 million extension he inked with the Dodgers seems like one the Red Sox should have been able to afford earlier in the year.

That much may be true, but it’s worth mentioning that Betts signed said extension in late July. That was roughly four months after Major League Baseball had pushed back the start of the season and the owners and players’ association were seemingly at each other’s throats every day in between.

Seeing that turmoil arise between the owners and MLBPA may have forced Betts to settle a little bit. At the end of the day, he still got a lucrative extension that offers long-term security with uncertain times ahead, though it may not be the $400 million-plus deal he was initially hoping for.

Basically, the point here is that if Betts really wanted to be ‘a Red Sox for life,’ he could have made it happen.

It may have taken some sacrifice to do so, and Betts has every right to not do that and instead seek out the biggest payday possible, but when you see guys like Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts sign extensions with the Red Sox for somewhat less than they would have gotten if they were free agents, that says something.

It’s as Barstool Sports‘ Jared Carrabis wrote back in February: “You can’t make it abundantly clear that you will not sign for a cent less than market value, and then say that Boston is your home and that you don’t want to play anywhere else. That’s just not how this works.”

Betts had the chance to stay with the Red Sox in the long-term if he wanted to. He decided that if he was going to remain in Boston, he was going to do so for nothing less than top dollar. That’s fine, but if you are still holding on to the notion that the Red Sox were in the wrong for trading you after making multiple attempts to try to get you to stay, it may be time to move on from the past.