The Mookie Mystery: The Unpredictable Future of the Sox Star

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The Mookie Mystery: The Unpredictable Future of the Sox Star

Colin West, Contributor

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In the wake of a disappointing 2019 season, the Boston Red Sox face a monumental decision regarding their 27-year-old superstar outfielder, Mookie Betts. Betts only has 1 year left on his contract and is projected to earn 27 million in 2020; however, he will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2020 season. In other words, he can sign with any Major League Baseball team. The Red Sox can trade him this offseason for a substantial haul, or try to resign him to a long-term deal in the 2020 offseason, which will likely cost them hundreds of millions of dollars.

Betts’s resume through 5 seasons is one of the best ever assembled by a player before the age of 27: 4 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Slugger awards, and 4 top 8 MVP finishes (including a 2nd place finish in 2016 and a win in 2018). I am personally a huge fan of him. He is a complete stud on the field and a great role model off the field. He has stayed out of trouble and drama and has maintained a great reputation with his teammates and coaches, as well as the fans. As a diehard Sox fan, I would hate to see the organization part ways with such a beloved and talented player. Unfortunately, this might be inevitable.

Mookie has not ruled out resigning with the team, but he certainly hasn’t indicated that he will. Earlier in the 2019 season, he turned down an 8-year, 200 million dollar deal offered by the Sox. He is keeping his options open, which is very common for a player of his significance. However, if he rejects another extension offer from the Sox, his departure in free agency is almost guaranteed. If this is the case, the best path for the organization would be to trade Mookie to a contending team willing to deal players which the Red Sox can utilize in the near future. The Red Sox had a stacked roster yet again last season, but lacked reliability from the bullpen. Trading Betts for prospect players is a huge risk if they don’t pan out, so the best decision would be to trade for players who can currently help the team out, like a “lights-out” closer (a pitcher) or a solid first baseman. An outfielder in return would certainly help the team as well, with recently extended J.D. Martinez being a liability in the field. 

Red Sox Superfan and former Lobby Observer editor Emma West explained, “Our best move here is to extend him a strong qualifying offer this offseason to show him that we value him and want him here. If he’s uninterested, though, we can’t let him walk away without getting anything in return. In that case, it’s best to trade him for assets we can use now…prospects aren’t worth it.” 

Offering Betts a contract this offseason is a no-brainer. He has already assembled a compelling Hall of Fame case at the age of 27. If he declines, the Red Sox must find the best package out there for him before they lose him in free agency with no compensation. The best possible teams for Betts include the Braves, Cardinals, Padres, and Mets. It certainly won’t be a challenge to find a team that wants him. The real challenge is finding the package which best suits the team’s needs. If Betts departs, I wish him the best and hope he finds success in the best home.