What if Mookie Betts just never really wanted to stay in Boston?
There’s another wrinkle in the Mookie Betts-Boston Red Sox saga, Yankees fans.
Mookie Betts is in the spotlight with the World Series taking centerstage, and all anybody can talk about is, “How did the Boston Red Sox trade this guy?!”. You know, the normal reaction. This was a homegrown talent — the best since Ted Williams — and an MVP during a championship season back in 2008.
Yes, us New York Yankees fans absolutely love to bash the Red Sox at every turn and call them nimrods as often as possible. That’s been the narrative since the day they started considering trading Betts, which many reports suggested was due to fiscal purposes. Boston wanted to save money and reload.
Why? That’s just so dumb. Why not trade other players and just pay Betts whatever he wants? Well, perhaps we didn’t consider a very real and potentially likely scenario.
Maybe Betts just didn’t want to be in Boston … at all.
We know Betts repeatedly had said he wanted to test free agency and explore other options as well as his true value … but he never did. He was traded to the Dodgers and shortly after signed a 12-year, $365 million extension. That move says a lot.
Here’s what Mike Felger of WEEI’s Felger and Mazz revealed this week:
"“This guy, I am fully confident is close with players and it was a conversation at literally an outdoor, socially-distanced cocktail party. The guy says, ‘Boy, he turned down a lot of money here,’ speaking of Betts. I’m like, ‘Well, what do you mean? Weren’t they way under?’ He said, ‘Oh no, no, they offered what he asked and he turned it down.’“I’m like, ‘Well wait a minute, why wouldn’t the Sox let everybody know that? Because right now, everyone’s calling them cheapskates. Everyone’s saying they cheaped out and wouldn’t pay for Mookie Betts. Why wouldn’t they let that be known?’ And the guy said they thought it would be a worse PR hit if people knew Betts turned them down straight up. That it wasn’t a money thing. Because then it speaks to he didn’t want to be here.“So I’m like, ‘I never thought of it that way.’ For PR purposes, it is better to be cheap or labeled cheap vs. no one wants to play for you. And they were afraid of that thing more than the cheap thing. Take that for what it’s worth.”"
Quite frankly, if this is the case, it’s almost better than the Red Sox shooting themselves in the foot to save the equivalent of spare change to them when you view the full scope of their financial situation.
A scenario in which Betts wanted nothing to do with the team that drafted him the moment his time was up in Boston, thereby setting the Red Sox back as far as he did, couldn’t feel more rewarding for Yankees fans. What’s even better? So many players in Major League Baseball talk about the Yankees being the gold standard — look at Gerrit Cole, who was beyond humbled even though he was the one signing the $324 million contract.
If this was indeed Betts’ choice (assuming he was offered a similar contract compared to what the Dodgers gave him), one can assume this speaks volumes to the city of Boston and/or the culture of the Red Sox organization … and not in a good way.