Lou Merloni: Mookie asking price is 12 years, $420 million.

Would you give Mookie a 12 years, $420 million contract?

  • Yes

  • No


Results are only viewable after voting.

Ale Xander

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AAV isn;t that bad.

If he doesn't Mays-it, it'll be worth it. I'd do it.

I'd much rather do 6/$210 and would somewhat rather do 6/$228, than 12/$420.

It's not my money
 

shaggydog2000

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So comparables like Morgan or Altuve aren’t relevant? Line drawing is always fun. (Apologies if he covered those guys.).

My problem with a long term big $ deal for Mookie IS that there seem to be few guys his size over the past 20 years who have maintained elite production into their mid-30s.
How many guys his size have had elite production in the first place? How many elite level players maintained elite performance into their mid-30's. Neither is a big sample size. Creating an arbitrary cohort of 1 player (Raines) and asking whether or not he will age the same is pretty silly. Expanding it to 3 guys doesn't tell you much either.
 

Rough Carrigan

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In the span of about three years he's gone from being truly great as a defensive right fielder to one of the top 3 in the league. That's a significant decline and it's the reason why I wouldn't give him that kind of contract. He doesn't walk quite enough, hasn't been very good in the postseason and wasn't in the top 10 in OPS+ in the AL this last year. It's kind of unfair to complain about that but when you want a top of the game contract it becomes somewhat reasonable. The last four years he's been in the top 10 in the AL once, when he was second to Mike Trout in 2018. The standards for justifying a top of the game contract are tough and I guess I fall on the side of thinking that he hasn't justified it.
 

chrisfont9

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So comparables like Morgan or Altuve aren’t relevant? Line drawing is always fun. (Apologies if he covered those guys.).

My problem with a long term big $ deal for Mookie IS that there seem to be few guys his size over the past 20 years who have maintained elite production into their mid-30s.
Mookie is supposedly 5-9, Altuve 5-6 and Morgan 5-7. Not sure where you draw the line on body-type comparables but this might not be a perfect fit? Anyway, there's not much difference from 5-9 to 5-11, so this list of current players under 6' is maybe more relevant.

 

nvalvo

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Team offers 10/$300; Mookie comes back with 12/$420.

I make two counter-offers: either 12/$360 (team's AAV; his years) or 10/$350 (team's years; his AAV).

If he doesn't bite, he doesn't bite. If you're seriously trying to resign Betts, you know it's going to be more than $300m: that's Machado money. But I'm not crossing (or even really getting all that close to) $400m.
 

jon abbey

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Mookie for his career has been worth 6.7 WAR per 650 PAs. His current Steamer projection is basically that. Let's assume he maintains that level until he turns 29 and loses 0.5 WAR per season from there on. Over the next 12 years, that would give us 52.9 WAR. At $9M per win, an extremely conservative estimate for an average across a 12 year contract, that's $476M.

This sounds crazypants, but he's worth it. The only reason he's not asking for more is that $420 over 12 years is Mike Trout's contract, and Mike Trout is a far superior player (by a good 50% or so) who was willing to be grossly underpaid.
You're projecting that he never gets hurt in a 12 year deal, I would argue that you should at least cut 50 PAs off that projection per season. As for money per win, the latest article I see has it at $8.6M per win for FAs over the last three seasons (https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-cost-of-a-win-in-free-agency-in-2020/) and I'd argue this will only drop going forward as the league gets younger and pre-arb players become more and more valuable not just for their cheapness but their output (of course we have no idea how the next CBA will affect this, or even the next couple of CBAs after that). That math (same as above post except 600 PAs per season and 8.6M per WAR) brings it down to $420M and that's with no major injuries over the entire course of the deal.
 

drbretto

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I am being swayed by the Mookie is worth it camp. Not going all the way over the fence yet. 12 years would be risky if he was Mike Trout. Freak injuries can happen.

If he really wants 12/420, he's not settling for 10/350 or 12/360 until he's sure no one out there is dumb enough to pay him. That leaves somewhere around $70million in his late 30's.

I don't see any reason for him to settle for anything less than the 420 right now. If he has monster year next year, that price might even go up. If he has an average (for him) year, there's still no reason not to give 29 other teams a shot at giving it to you first.
 

tims4wins

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In the span of about three years he's gone from being truly great as a defensive right fielder to one of the top 3 in the league. That's a significant decline and it's the reason why I wouldn't give him that kind of contract. He doesn't walk quite enough, hasn't been very good in the postseason and wasn't in the top 10 in OPS+ in the AL this last year. It's kind of unfair to complain about that but when you want a top of the game contract it becomes somewhat reasonable. The last four years he's been in the top 10 in the AL once, when he was second to Mike Trout in 2018. The standards for justifying a top of the game contract are tough and I guess I fall on the side of thinking that he hasn't justified it.
This is where I fall. I calculated his OPS+ and wOBA from 2016-2019 the other day and he ranks somewhere in the 13-15 range. That’s very good especially with his defense. But it’s not worth the 2nd highest contract to Trout or anywhere within 10% of it or whatever.
 

brs3

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the Red Sox have won one title in five+ years with Mookie. How do you rationalize multiple titles from 2020-2024 or 2021-2025?
IF... a team acquiring Mookie can win multiple titles over the next 5 years, it'll have to be a team that has enough affordable talent to fill up the other 24 roster spots credibly. The Red Sox aren't that team.

And that's less the fault of DD's trades than it is of DD's and BC's drafts.
I was a bit dramatic, so should retract my statement on tying multiple titles to him. You're right.

Pay the man. Compared to what they gave Carl Crawford, Panda, Price? Worth it.
This what I feel. So much dumb money has been tossed around, now is the time to pull back? Or even generational players should have limits?
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Mookie for his career has been worth 6.7 WAR per 650 PAs. His current Steamer projection is basically that. Let's assume he maintains that level until he turns 29 and loses 0.5 WAR per season from there on. Over the next 12 years, that would give us 52.9 WAR. At $9M per win, an extremely conservative estimate for an average across a 12 year contract, that's $476M.

This sounds crazypants, but he's worth it. The only reason he's not asking for more is that $420 over 12 years is Mike Trout's contract, and Mike Trout is a far superior player (by a good 50% or so) who was willing to be grossly underpaid.
The issue is not that he isn't the kind of player who would earn a 12/$420M contract if all goes well. He clearly is. The issue is the uncomfortably non-trivial likelihood that all will not go well.

This what I feel. So much dumb money has been tossed around, now is the time to pull back? Or even generational players should have limits?
Generational players, especially, should have limits, because the impact if a contract of that size bombs is far more severe than if a Panda-sized contract bombs. You pay Mookie 12/$420M and he goes Vada Pinson or Cesar Cedeno on you, and voila, you have crippled your organization for years.
 

Ale Xander

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This is where I fall. I calculated his OPS+ and wOBA from 2016-2019 the other day and he ranks somewhere in the 13-15 range. That’s very good especially with his defense. But it’s not worth the 2nd highest contract to Trout or anywhere within 10% of it or whatever.
Not his fault that Trout is underpaid
 

DeadlySplitter

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the unspoken thing about Mookie is a lot of his value is tied up to his quick hands. and that's something that can decline pretty early - I remember people comparing him to Andrew McCutchen when Mookie was emerging in 2015-16, as far as speculating how long his peak might last.

I don't know where the mediocre 2019 defense came from but I'd expect a bounceback for awhile at least? maybe da SABERMETRICS say otherwise.
 

tims4wins

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Is he not the 2nd betts player in baseball?
I’m not sure. Maybe? He had one all time season. He has had 2 very good seasons. He had one pretty good season. It’s kind of hard to say. One season with an OPS+ over 135 so far. I know that peak Mookie is the second best player. I don’t know if peak Mookie will ever appear again.
 

glennhoffmania

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Not his fault that Trout is underpaid
Is that a joke? Trout has the highest guaranteed deal in history by almost $100m and he never even hit FA. These numbers people are kicking around are absurd. Mookie is a great player and I'd love for him to stay. But he's not some generational talent and he isn't worth Trout's deal. People can complain that Henry isn't willing to spend more and I get that. But the fact is he set a budget. And with Sale, Price, Xander and Mookie they would be hamstrung for years. Mookie's entitled to try to maximize his earnings. I don't get it, but that's his call. Given that I say get the most you can for him now.
 

tims4wins

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the unspoken thing about Mookie is a lot of his value is tied up to his quick hands. and that's something that can decline pretty early - I remember people comparing him to Andrew McCutchen when Mookie was emerging in 2015-16, as far as speculating how long his peak might last.

I don't know where the mediocre 2019 defense came from but I'd expect a bounceback for awhile at least? maybe da SABERMETRICS say otherwise.
Cutch is a great comparison in terms of first six years production. 143 OPS+ vs 134 for Mookie in 3800 PAs vs 3600. Cutch has posted a 122 OPS+ ever since. If 27 year old Cutch became a free agent right now, got Betts type money, then posted his career since then, would he be worth it? Doesn’t seem like it. Especially considering it has only been 5 seasons since. Imagine if he was due 7 more years and $245M!
 

glennhoffmania

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Cutch is a great comparison in terms of first six years production. 143 OPS+ vs 134 for Mookie in 3800 PAs vs 3600. Cutch has posted a 122 OPS+ ever since. If 27 year old Cutch became a free agent right now, got Betts type money, then posted his career since then, would he be worth it? Doesn’t seem like it. Especially considering it has only been 5 seasons since. Imagine if he was due 7 more years and $245M!
Yup. There are two differences though that may or may not make a difference. Cutch played CF, and I realize Mookie could too. And if Cutch signed the biggest deal in history 5 years ago it wouldn't have been 12/420, so it wouldn't look quite as bad todat. I liked Cutch but I would never have been in favor of giving him a comparable deal at that time. He was really good, but not Troutish.
 

tims4wins

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Yup. There are two differences though that may or may not make a difference. Cutch played CF, and I realize Mookie could too. And if Cutch signed the biggest deal in history 5 years ago it wouldn't have been 12/420, so it wouldn't look quite as bad todat. I liked Cutch but I would never have been in favor of giving him a comparable deal at that time. He was really good, but not Troutish.
Right I meant if Cutch was 27 today and hitting free agency he would be valued very similarly to Mookie. And then if you got his production for the next 5 years you’d probably be a little disappointed, though 122 OPS+ isn’t bad, but you’d be downright depressed with what would still be owed. It would be crippling.
 

grimshaw

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I'm thoroughly unsentimental about players and enjoyed the Theo experience as he rebuilt the farm while patching things together with inexpensive free agents back in 2003. If they have to take a step back and not be an odds on playoff team for a season or two, then so be it. Watching kids develop over time is more satisfying to me than spending every last dime. After 2013 it felt like the start of a dynasty. It's worth it to go playoff-less for 2 seasons if that's what it takes to get back there.. And I'm not at all convinced they still won't be good anyhow.

Moving Mookie alone isn't going to rebuild that farm system but it's a good start and a sensible move in my opinion. Step one has to be shedding salary. I'm excited to see what Bloom's vision of the team over the next few years is.

I want nothing to do with contracts longer than 5 years anymore unless it's buying out cost controlled seasons.
 

ehaz

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McCutchen age 22-26: 734 games, 26.4 bWAR, 27.6 fWAR
Mookie age 22-26: 742 games, 39.7 bWAR, 35.4 fWAR

The difference is almost all defense. McCutchen didn't really "decline" as a CF, he was just at best always a fringe-average defender in CF at his prime. Mookie's been closer to an all-time great in RF. How much do we buy the "Mookie is declining defensive theory" vs it's just statistical noise of advanced defensive metrics?
 

Marciano490

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This is anecdotal, so forgive me if it's speculative and not super useful.

With boxing and powerlifting, you get really good at sizing people up by body type. Seeing who's going to be strong, who's going to be explosive, and who's going to get hurt.

Mookie looks like the kind of guy who is very lean, very explosive and with smallish joints and longer muscle attachments. Explosive is different than strong. Those guys tend to get hurt in their mid to late 30s. They're lean their whole lives, then put on a little extra weight, and their joints just can't handle it. Especially given the explosiveness - it's that starting strength that turns to a bit of a curse.

Guys like Trout and Altuve are explosive, but a little soft - by pro athlete standards. Their joints are built to and used to carrying that weight. As they age, they can remain healthy by leaning out a bit. Guys with Mookie's build don't usually have that option.
 

sean1562

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I’m not sure. Maybe? He had one all time season. He has had 2 very good seasons. He had one pretty good season. It’s kind of hard to say. One season with an OPS+ over 135 so far. I know that peak Mookie is the second best player. I don’t know if peak Mookie will ever appear again.
Christian Yelich is probably the second best player right now. Who is signing him to a 12/420 deal in 2022?
 

Muppet

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I say you sign him to whatever he wants. Watch him play the best baseball of his life and if he starts to fall off a cliff or gets hurt, offer him a coaching gig.

Profit.
 

Plympton91

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Why are so many people against this? Do you think it'll handcuff the team for 12 years? Do you honestly believe the top FA in 2025 won't be paid more than this annual average? Likewise,. hypothetically do you think Mookie wouldn't command top FA dollars in 2025? Do you think Mookie won't be that good in years 6-7-etc?

I agree he's gone because this info is being leaked and is the classic engine starter for the Red Sox FO to move someone out. I'd pay the man. I think any team that acquires Mookie Betts will win multiple titles over the next 5 years. There might be a couple teams that could afford him where that is not true.
12 years is a long, long time. You don’t have to be just a pessimist about aging curves to hold off on that. Suppose there’s a deep recession because the current administration’s apparent adoption of modern monetary theory goes awry? On the other side of insanity, we have serious contenders for the Presidency and Popular Congressfolk suggesting annual wealth taxes on illiquid assets (like baseball teams—Fenway Sports Group is worth $6 billion; so Liz and Alex want a $120 million a year check from John Henry) and don’t forget about a fracking ban that would eliminate 1,000,000 jobs overnight and double the cost of gas. Hello recession I just mentioned. Outside of politics, Suppose further decline in legacy TV subscriptions craters local broadcast revenues?

I don’t want to debate politics, and that’s not a forecast, the only reason I’m bringing it up and why I pointed to problems regardless of the electoral outcome is to say that over 12 years entire paradigms in politics, technology, and tastes could shift. Mookie’s performance uncertainty may be the least of the reasons to not spend $400 million on a baseball player right now.

And others are making a very good point as well that Mookie wants to be paid as if he is Mike Trout, when in fact he is closer to Manny Machado. Mookie is a top 10 talent right now. Trout is one of the top 10 talents in the history of baseball.
 
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The Gray Eagle

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I'd offer him 2 years, $100 million total.

If he took it, he would be the highest paid player in the game by a lot (by season salary of course) then hit the market at age 29 able to rake in another $300 million+.

No athlete takes a deal like that, but for a guy his age, it might make some sense. He'd be betting on himself staying healthy and continuing to be great for a couple more years-- if he did, he would likely total more than the $420 million he's asking for now. And that $20 million is his price for giving up free agency right now, not necessarily the amount he really expects to get once he hits the market.

He'd likely reject it, but at least you tried to make him the highest paid player in the game by a mile and he turned you down. Not much more you can do than that.

If he took that deal, we would be going for it and staying over the cap for this year and 2 more years, then get under it after 2022. Price and JD's contracts expire in 2022 and Xander has an opt-out then as well. That would give Bloom 3 years to rebuild the farm system.
 

Oil Can Dan

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If the report is true, I don’t blame Mookie for asking for that. Certainly within his rights, and maybe he gets it. But the Red Sox should not agree to any deal that extends to 2032. That’s crazy talk and they’d be assuming way more risk than is responsible.

That sort of deal for that length at that sort of financial commitment is a franchise killer.
 

Harry Hooper

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I want nothing to do with contracts longer than 5 years anymore unless it's buying out cost controlled seasons.
I generally agree with this, though I might tack on a couple more years for a player of Mookie's abilities who similarly came up through the Sox system. Time to go biblical, 7 fat years.
 

Salem's Lot

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I’m always a little skeptical when team broadcasters are breaking news that the team’s star player is asking for a ridiculous contract. I wouldn’t be shocked if I woke up tomorrow morning and Betts is traded for a couple guys that will probably never have an impact on the major league club. It may be for the best considering everything that has been mentioned in this thread thus far, but I see this as nothing but a leak by ownership to spin the news to the fans that they’re about to trade their best player for nothing over money.
 

Rough Carrigan

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McCutchen age 22-26: 734 games, 26.4 bWAR, 27.6 fWAR
Mookie age 22-26: 742 games, 39.7 bWAR, 35.4 fWAR

The difference is almost all defense. McCutchen didn't really "decline" as a CF, he was just at best always a fringe-average defender in CF at his prime. Mookie's been closer to an all-time great in RF. How much do we buy the "Mookie is declining defensive theory" vs it's just statistical noise of advanced defensive metrics?
According to the fielding bible, Mookie's defensive decline over the last 3 years from truly great in 2016 at 32 runs saved, and 2017 31 runs saved to 2018 at 20 runs saved to 2019 15 runs saved. The first 3 of those years he ranked as first in MLB. Last year he ranked third behind Bellinger and Judge.

That's a loss of half his extra defensive value. If true that's a big deal.
 

Marciano490

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According to the fielding bible, Mookie's defensive decline over the last 3 years from truly great in 2016 at 32 runs saved, and 2017 31 runs saved to 2018 at 20 runs saved to 2019 15 runs saved. The first 3 of those years he ranked as first in MLB. Last year he ranked third behind Bellinger and Judge.

That's a loss of half his extra defensive value. If true that's a big deal.
Nothing gold can stay, right?
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
It may be for the best considering everything that has been mentioned in this thread thus far, but I see this as nothing but a leak by ownership to spin the news to the fans that they’re about to trade their best player for nothing over money.
Saying "trade their best player for nothing over money" implies that Mookie would be happy to sign an extension tomorrow if the Sox made it fat enough. And we've seen no evidence that this is the case, at least not if we're keeping the hypothetical offers in the realm of the sane.

In fact, a more accurate framing would be "trade their best player for something, as opposed to losing him for next to nothing."
 

Salem's Lot

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Saying "trade their best player for nothing over money" implies that Mookie would be happy to sign an extension tomorrow if the Sox made it fat enough. And we've seen no evidence that this is the case, at least not if we're keeping the hypothetical offers in the realm of the sane.

In fact, a more accurate framing would be "trade their best player for something, as opposed to losing him for next to nothing."
I get that long term it’s probably the best move. I just think the team leaking contract numbers to one of their broadcasters is an attempt to frame the narrative so that fans won’t completely ignore the 2020 season. Any return for Betts probably won’t help the MLB club in 2020, and they still have tickets to sell, advertising on NESN, etc.

They must feel that they have to justify to the fans why they are moving Betts for futures instead of just paying him for this year, trying to compete for the playoffs, and if they’re out of it, trading him at the deadline for maybe a better prospect package.
 

high cheese

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They’ve already botched 2020, there’s no way to recover it. Ticket sales, ratings, merchandise, etc will be down significantly and who’s to say it will stop in 20?

Rivals are spending to get better - even the Twins are spending money to get better - and the Red Sox are in cost cutting mode in the midst of an incredible opportunity with a home grown core.

The billionaire smart guys want to reinvent the wheel again. They’ll trade Mookie or let him walk then throw a pile of money at the next Carl Crawford - pump him up on NESN (see Panda suit day 1) and we’ll see what happens from there.

The franchise has lost all momentum and it’s going to be really tough - and costly - to get it back.
 

Plympton91

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Why would teams pay more for two months of Mookie than they would for six?
well, more teams can afford two months of Mookie than can afford six, especially if they’re on the verge of playoff contention. Teams that are bidding now also will have much more certainty that they are headed to playoffs in July, so they might be more willing to mortgage part of their future than they are now. So, with higher demand and greater certainty might come a higher price.
 

Salem's Lot

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Why would teams pay more for two months of Mookie than they would for six?
Because the actual cash owed would only be around $9 million. GM’s of teams that are in contention at the deadline may be in a better position to ask their owners to add $9 million to the budget at the deadline for a chance to win the World Series, then they are to add Betts at $27 million before they know if they’re a contender or not. More teams in the bidding increases the prospect haul.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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They’ve already botched 2020, there’s no way to recover it. Ticket sales, ratings, merchandise, etc will be down significantly and who’s to say it will stop in 20?

Rivals are spending to get better - even the Twins are spending money to get better - and the Red Sox are in cost cutting mode in the midst of an incredible opportunity with a home grown core.

The billionaire smart guys want to reinvent the wheel again. They’ll trade Mookie or let him walk then throw a pile of money at the next Carl Crawford - pump him up on NESN (see Panda suit day 1) and we’ll see what happens from there.

The franchise has lost all momentum and it’s going to be really tough - and costly - to get it back.
Botched 2020? Hyperbole much.

I get that the Mookie talk is depressing as all hell, but other than that, what exactly has the team botched about the coming season? If they don't find a satisfactory return for Mookie, they'll hold on to him. And if they do, this team is going to be pretty damn good. Sure, the Yankees have made the bigger splash and they're coming off a good year, but that doesn't make them invincible.

Maybe I'm an eternal optimist, but 2020 isn't a lost season yet.
 

Salem's Lot

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They’ve already botched 2020, there’s no way to recover it. Ticket sales, ratings, merchandise, etc will be down significantly and who’s to say it will stop in 20?

Rivals are spending to get better - even the Twins are spending money to get better - and the Red Sox are in cost cutting mode in the midst of an incredible opportunity with a home grown core.

The billionaire smart guys want to reinvent the wheel again. They’ll trade Mookie or let him walk then throw a pile of money at the next Carl Crawford - pump him up on NESN (see Panda suit day 1) and we’ll see what happens from there.

The franchise has lost all momentum and it’s going to be really tough - and costly - to get it back.
Please explain how the Red Sox are in the midst of “an incredible opportunity with a home grown core”? They have an aging and expensive roster and very little high end talent in the farm system. They’ve spent the most money in baseball over the past 3 seasons, and this year they will have the 3rd or 4th highest payroll at worst. Overpaying for Betts is one of the worst things that they could do as an organization. My only argument is I’d rather trade him at the deadline then right now given the rumored return.