Mookie BBetts - 2019 Campaign

judyb

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So you're saying you should get Max Scherzer before everyone knows he's Max Scherzer then?
Yeah, that's how to get ace pitchers without having to trade top prospects and use up so much payroll, maybe the psychic scout who told DD to make that trade is available now.
 

bosox79

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Mookie does everything well. Runs, throws, plays defense, hits for average, hits for power, is (from what little I know) a good clubhouse guy. His game isn't just based on speed or power. There's literally nothing he can't do well. And I bet he could make the switch back to 2b if he really had to. Might take a little time to get back used to the position but I bet he could do it well. I don't understand the argument some have made that his game won't age well. He's got everything it takes to be a terrific baseball player for many more years to come.
I think he'll age well but he's still going to age, and as he does he'll lose value in base running and defense first. He's starting from a very high base so he's still going to offer value in all aspects of the game, just slightly less. If 2018 is the outlier, I'm not sure you can justify signing a guy with an OPS+ of 133 for a decade at Mike Trout money because he's not going to make up the value elsewhere. He's going to start losing value elsewhere.

There was also a discussion on here back in the day about the myth that speedy players age poorly. Ironically, I think it was in the Ellsbury discussion. There was some research that showed guys like Raines, Henderson and Ichiro aged well while the ones that aged badly were the ones with old people skills/bad bodies like Youkilis, Pujols and Miggy Cabrera.

Of course there's always a guy like David Ortiz and/or Jose Reyes to throw a wrench into that argument.
 

brandonchristensen

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I think he'll age well but he's still going to age, and as he does he'll lose value in base running and defense first. He's starting from a very high base so he's still going to offer value in all aspects of the game, just slightly less. If 2018 is the outlier, I'm not sure you can justify signing a guy with an OPS+ of 133 for a decade at Mike Trout money because he's not going to make up the value elsewhere. He's going to start losing value elsewhere.

There was also a discussion on here back in the day about the myth that speedy players age poorly. Ironically, I think it was in the Ellsbury discussion. There was some research that showed guys like Raines, Henderson and Ichiro aged well while the ones that aged badly were the ones with old people skills/bad bodies like Youkilis, Pujols and Miggy Cabrera.

Of course there's always a guy like David Ortiz and/or Jose Reyes to throw a wrench into that argument.
I recall Crawford being the start of that conversation.
 

bosox79

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It certainly came up in that discussion. But either way, it looks pretty funny in retrospect. About the best thing you can say about Ellsbury's aging curve is that it has been better than Carl Crawford's.
That's actually not true. It's easy to forget but Crawford actually had a few good years in LA at ages 31 and 32. He fell off at 33. Interestingly enough, Gonzalez fell off right around the same age. I guess it's not really shocking to see players fall off a cliff at ages 33-34 though.
 

The Needler

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That's actually not true. It's easy to forget but Crawford actually had a few good years in LA at ages 31 and 32. He fell off at 33. Interestingly enough, Gonzalez fell off right around the same age. I guess it's not really shocking to see players fall off a cliff at ages 33-34 though.
Crawford had 35.6 WAR through age 28, and just 3.7 afterward. Ellsbury had 15.6 through 28, and 15.5 after.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Improbably enough, the biggest difference between Crawford and Ellsbury after each left the Sox was that Ellsbury was much better at staying in the lineup.

Otherwise, Crawford hit slightly better (104 to 96 wRC+) and ran slightly worse (12.8 to 18.3 total baserunning runs), while both declined from plus to fringe-average outfield defenders.
 

The Needler

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Improbably enough, the biggest difference between Crawford and Ellsbury after each left the Sox was that Ellsbury was much better at staying in the lineup.

Otherwise, Crawford hit slightly better (104 to 96 wRC+) and ran slightly worse (12.8 to 18.3 total baserunning runs), while both declined from plus to fringe-average outfield defenders.
Of Course, Crawford's decline began while he was with the Red Sox. But even just counting after he left, Crawford averaged 1.4 bWAR per 162. Ellsbury more than twice that at 3.05.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Pretty clearly, Mookie is either fundamentally trying not to pull the ball as much, because he thinks it makes him a better hitter long term, or he's being pitched differently:

25656

I haven't done the deeper analysis to look at exact numbers, but the eye test there's something going on here. And there's been much anecdotal remarking about his fly balls to the Triangle. Is he right that working on hitting to all fields will play out better in the long run? Is it a skill he's still refining? Or can he get back to ripping balls over the wall?

Interestingly enough, he also seems to be even more of an extreme pull hitter on the ground this year.
 

Plympton91

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This is the logical progression I've gone through as well. I don't see how a trade is feasible, unless Mookie has simply decided that he wants no part of continuing his career in Boston, and thus would agree to talking extension with a trade partner. I can't see into his heart, but I don't believe there is any evidence that supports that he's anti-Boston (that we're aware of, obviously).
Or maybe there’s a trade partner willing to overpay for Mookie and the Red Sox aren’t.

Remember, Mookie costs the Red Sox his salary plus a luxury tax hit, as there’s no way they’re getting under it. For a team like the Mariners or Cardinals, that’s not the case.

How other teams might value him also relates to the discussion of how to value Mookie’s baserunning and defense. Each team has to value what he WILL provide, not what he CAN provide. So, if stolen bases are not valuable in a juiced ball era, you shouldn’t pay for them even if in a different environment Mookie could be a 30 SB guy. But, if there’s a team out there that still wants to run, Mookie is more valuable to them.

Likewise, I’m guessing defensive WAR stats are down in part because there are fewer balls in play. Fielders as a group are about 10% less valuable (2/20) when there are 9 K’s a game than when there are 7 K’s a game. (Have to adjust that down because a good fielder will keep singles from becoming doubles, but that’s second order to making outs.) So, a team with a lower strikeout rate than Boston’s pitching staff should value him more highly than Boston.

And, frankly, a team that is going to play him in CF should value him more highly than a team that’s going to play him in RF.
 
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RedOctober3829

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Or maybe there’s a trade partner willing to overpay for Mookie and the Red Sox aren’t.

Remember, Mookie costs the Red Sox his salary plus a luxury tax hit, as there’s no way they’re getting under it. For a team like the Mariners or Cardinals, that’s not the case.

To the discussion of how to value Mookie’s baserunning and defense, you have to value what he WILL provide, not what he CAN provide. So, if stolen bases are not valuable in a juiced ball era, you shouldn’t pay for them even if in a different environment Mookie could be a 30 SB guy.
But, if there’s a team out there that still wants to run, Mookie is more valuable to them.

Likewise, I’m guessing defensive WAR stats are down in part because there are fewer balls in play. Fielders as a group are about 10% less valuable (2/20) when there are 9 K’s a game than when there are 7 K’s a game. (Have to adjust that down because a good fielder will keep singles from becoming doubles, but that’s second order to making outs.) So, a team with a lower strikeout rate than Boston’s pitching staff should value him more highly than Boston.

And, frankly, a team that is going to play him in CF should value him more highly than a team that’s going to play him in RF.
Atlanta is a team that could overpay for him and still be in good shape financially. According to Cot's they only have $75 million committed to next year's payroll so that leaves them an insane $132 million under the luxury tax. In 2021, they are at $58 and 2022 they only have Acuna and Albies committed for a total of $17.5 million. They have a ton of young players sill under team control. They lose Donaldson, Keuchel, and McCann so they need to either re-sign or replace them. So, they can easily overpay for Mookie.
 

The Needler

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Likewise, I’m guessing defensive WAR stats are down in part because there are fewer balls in play. Fielders as a group are about 10% less valuable (2/20) when there are 9 K’s a game than when there are 7 K’s a game. (Have to adjust that down because a good fielder will keep singles from becoming doubles, but that’s second order to making outs.) So, a team with a lower strikeout rate than Boston’s pitching staff should value him more highly than Boston.

And, frankly, a team that is going to play him in CF should value him more highly than a team that’s going to play him in RF.
I don't think this is right. Mookie has actually had more opportunities than any outfielder in baseball according to StatCast (and JBJ is 10th). I think batted ball type is more important than K rate when it comes to outfield opportunities, and the Sox are 6th in FB%, and 25th in GB/FB.
 

Max Power

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I don't think this is right. Mookie has actually had more opportunities than any outfielder in baseball according to StatCast (and JBJ is 10th). I think batted ball type is more important than K rate when it comes to outfield opportunities, and the Sox are 6th in FB%, and 25th in GB/FB.
I think he meant on a year to year basis the number of balls in play have declined, making defense less valuable. Compared to his peers, Mookie might have more opportunities, but not compared to 2016 Mookie. But looking at the numbers, it seems like league-wide range factor in right field has held fairly steady. Hitters trying to hit the ball in the air has probably made up for the missed opportunities that strikeouts added. Infield defense is likely less valuable overall the last few years since there are fewer balls in play on the ground, although I can't find a source for that number.
 

The Needler

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I think he meant on a year to year basis the number of balls in play have declined, making defense less valuable. Compared to his peers, Mookie might have more opportunities, but not compared to 2016 Mookie. But looking at the numbers, it seems like league-wide range factor in right field has held fairly steady. Hitters trying to hit the ball in the air has probably made up for the missed opportunities that strikeouts added. Infield defense is likely less valuable overall the last few years since there are fewer balls in play on the ground, although I can't find a source for that number.
I don't really understand what point that would relate to. I feel like my reading matches with the conclusion that "a team with a lower strikeout rate than Boston’s pitching staff should value him more highly than Boston," but maybe I'm misunderstanding.

In any event, as for opportunities--per StatCast, 2016 Mookie got 1.57 non-automatic opportunities per OF game. 2019 Mookie has gotten 1.53. That's about 6 opportunities fewer over the course of the season, which does not seem significant.
 

Plympton91

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I don't really understand what point that would relate to. I feel like my reading matches with the conclusion that "a team with a lower strikeout rate than Boston’s pitching staff should value him more highly than Boston," but maybe I'm misunderstanding.

In any event, as for opportunities--per StatCast, 2016 Mookie got 1.57 non-automatic opportunities per OF game. 2019 Mookie has gotten 1.53. That's about 6 opportunities fewer over the course of the season, which does not seem significant.
I was actually making both points. I assumed Mookie was getting fewer opportunities in Boston due to them
Being among league leaders in strikeouts and that defense in general was less valuable due to the same league wide trend.

Whether 6 opportunities matter for the bogus defensive stats that translate plays into run equivalents depends on whether they are hard opportunities or easy opportunities.
 

Pitt the Elder

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With last night's big game, Mookie is up to 5.6 fWAR (8th among position players) and 5.8 bWAR (4th among position players), which puts him on track to end the season in the ~6.5 WAR range. Here are his updated splits for 1st half and 2nd half:

YearWRC+PAAvgOBPSLGOPSISOrhrsbbb%kk%hard %hr/fb %pa/hr
1st Half1234180.2720.3920.4670.8590.19477131016.3%14.4%42.0%10.4%32.2
2nd Half1472310.3180.3810.6020.9830.2844812410.0%15.6%44.4%15.0%19.3

Leaving aside baserunning and defense - it's hard to find any meaningful data in splits to show how that might be changing - Mookie has clearly been a different batter at the plate afte the ASG. It looks like he's being more aggressive, as evidenced by his decreased walk rate and increased strikeout rate, but it has translated into a big bump in power, with SLG, ISO, and hr/fb% all increasing significantly. In short, he's looking much more like MVP Mookie at the plate than he did through for the first half of the year. I don't have these splits broken out, but a lot of this has to do with him hitting lefties much more in line with his career norms.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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I've mentioned it before, but I realize there's no way to quantify it:

How much of his turnaround might be attributed to his newborn child now being more than 6 months old and, presumably, thriving? There was a lot of talk that he dived headfirst into being a father and some speculation that the abrupt change in sleep schedule, etc., might have thrown him off for awhile. With whatever issues, if any, his child may have had now out of the way, maybe he can relax and focus on playing more and that's why he's come roaring back? Or maybe his body/mind has finally adjusted to the feeding/sleeping schedules when he's home and he's not worrying as much when he's on the road?
 

BaseballJones

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That's entirely possible. Anyone who's had kids knows that they're a MAJOR disruption in your life. Even the easy ones. And the tough ones (ones with any sort of health issue or sleep problems or whatever) are exceedingly time and energy-draining. That's what you sign up for when you parent, but like with anyone else in other professions, usually job performance suffers a little. It's just that most of our jobs aren't put on public display like Betts' is. Nobody here knows or cares when the mailman is 30 minutes later than normal with the mail because he's dragging. But Betts is a fraction of a second slower swinging at a pitch and all of New England sees it.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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I've mentioned it before, but I realize there's no way to quantify it:

How much of his turnaround might be attributed to his newborn child now being more than 6 months old and, presumably, thriving? There was a lot of talk that he dived headfirst into being a father and some speculation that the abrupt change in sleep schedule, etc., might have thrown him off for awhile. With whatever issues, if any, his child may have had now out of the way, maybe he can relax and focus on playing more and that's why he's come roaring back? Or maybe his body/mind has finally adjusted to the feeding/sleeping schedules when he's home and he's not worrying as much when he's on the road?
That would totally explain the occasional defensive lapses we've seen this season where it looked like his brain took an extra half-second to catch up with the unfolding play. Being a new parent can have that effect.

Mookie will now most likely finish this season with about 42 bWAR (currently at 40.9). There are only ten players, including Mookie, to make it over 40 bWAR by their sixth major league season. They are pretty much who you would expect them to be (Ruth is missing because this is position player WAR only):

Ted Williams 55.0
Mike Trout 47.5
Albert Pujols 46.1
Jackie Robinson 43.7
Wade Boggs 43.4
Joe DiMaggio 42.6
Mickey Mantle 41.5
Barry Bonds 41.3
Mookie Betts 40.9
Willie Mays 40.8

Betts is likely to pass Bonds and Mantle before the season is over.
 

BaseballJones

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That would totally explain the occasional defensive lapses we've seen this season where it looked like his brain took an extra half-second to catch up with the unfolding play. Being a new parent can have that effect.

Mookie will now most likely finish this season with about 42 bWAR (currently at 40.9). There are only ten players, including Mookie, to make it over 40 bWAR by their sixth major league season. They are pretty much who you would expect them to be (Ruth is missing because this is position player WAR only):

Ted Williams 55.0
Mike Trout 47.5
Albert Pujols 46.1
Jackie Robinson 43.7
Wade Boggs 43.4
Joe DiMaggio 42.6
Mickey Mantle 41.5
Barry Bonds 41.3
Mookie Betts 40.9
Willie Mays 40.8

Betts is likely to pass Bonds and Mantle before the season is over.
Betts has a LONG way to go, but his career is shaping up to be one of the best in MLB history if he keeps it up.
 

Pitt the Elder

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Mookie continue's his tear last night with another bomb, though a Pesky-pole special, and a legit laserbeam double. His 2nd half is starting to look an awful lot like his 2018:

YearWRC+AvgOBPSLGOPSISObb%kk%hard %hr/fb %pa/hr
20181850.3460.4380.6401.0780.29413.2%14.8%44.5%16.4%19.2
2019 2H1510.3220.3880.6201.0020.2989.8%15.3%44.0%15.9%18.1

It's a testament to how good his 2018 was that, even when isolating his best 235 PA stretch in 2019, it's still not quite as good as he was over 620 PA for the entire 2018 season, but it's still really encouraging to see.
 

bosox79

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Mookie continue's his tear last night with another bomb, though a Pesky-pole special, and a legit laserbeam double. His 2nd half is starting to look an awful lot like his 2018:

YearWRC+AvgOBPSLGOPSISObb%kk%hard %hr/fb %pa/hr
20181850.3460.4380.6401.0780.29413.2%14.8%44.5%16.4%19.2
2019 2H1510.3220.3880.6201.0020.2989.8%15.3%44.0%15.9%18.1

It's a testament to how good his 2018 was that, even when isolating his best 235 PA stretch in 2019, it's still not quite as good as he was over 620 PA for the entire 2018 season, but it's still really encouraging to see.
And when you factor in the increase in offense this year.
2019 AL .254/.323/.440
2018 AL .249/.318/.415
 

Pitt the Elder

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Mookie is now at 6.2 fWAR (7th in the league, in a veritable tie with Xander) and 6.4 bWAR (10th in the league, 7th among position players). The striking thing of late is that Mookie seems to be hunting first-pitch fastballs, which is a sharp departure of the more conservative approach he's known for. So far, it's worked - I think he's hit 3 or 4 first-pitch home runs in the last week or two. If he can maintain this approach the rest of the year, he has a very good shot at surpassing his career-high in HR (32 last year), which is remarkable given that he only had 13 HR at the ASB.

I'm not entirely sure the best way to tease out his approach vis a vis taking pitches, but there's been a downward trend to his pitches/PA over the course of the season:
  • Mar/Apr: 4.30
  • May: 4.37
  • Jun: 4.11
  • July: 3.97
  • Aug: 4.03
  • Sep: 3.76
 

The Filthy One

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At The Ringer, Michael Baumann makes the case that the Sox can and should extend Mookie.

Unfortunately, other big-market teams like the Dodgers and Yankees have begun to treat the tax threshold as a hard salary cap, and now that it seems the Red Sox are determined to do the same, it’s worth exploring how they might achieve that goal without trading Betts. Because while dumping their best player to meet arbitrary financial goals would certainly be a festive way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Babe Ruth sale, it shouldn’t be Plan A.

A team that wants to challenge for the World Series shouldn’t trade Betts to save a few million dollars—in fact, it would be better off not only keeping Betts but extending him, and trading everyone else on the roster.
I hope whoever takes over for DD reads this article, because it's basically where I'm at. Move Jackie, dump Sandy Leon, and figure out a few more ways to get creative. Even if Sale is hurt and the team is mediocre next year, I want Mookie on the Red Sox long-term.
 
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brandonchristensen

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If every cheap player wasn’t performing out of their minds for the Yankees they would be more inclined to spend more money. They have benefitted from a massive horse shoe clogging the toilet.
 

BaseballJones

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If every cheap player wasn’t performing out of their minds for the Yankees they would be more inclined to spend more money. They have benefitted from a massive horse shoe clogging the toilet.
Well yes and no. They've also suffered more injuries to good players than I can ever remember a team having. It's been unreal. So that's not very lucky.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Well yes and no. They've also suffered more injuries to good players than I can ever remember a team having. It's been unreal. So that's not very lucky.
Which is, of course, how the cheap players have gotten the opportunity to perform out of their minds. The Yankees were a 100-win team last year and got better over the winter. They're doing about as well as we should have expected them to. They're just doing it in a surprising way, because baseball.
 

mikeysox

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At The Ringer, Michael Baumann makes the case that the Sox can and should extend Mookie.

I hope whoever takes over for DD reads this article, because it's basically where I'm at. Move Jackie, dump Sandy Leon, and figure out a few more ways to get creative. Even if Sale is hurt and the team is mediocre next year, I want Mookie on the Red Sox long-term.
Same. Mookie is exactly the kind of player a rich team like the Sox should pay market rate for. Players of his quality come around very rarely.
Will the last couple years of such a contract be ugly? Probably. Could he see drastic decline due to injury? It's possible. Still worth it, in my opinion.
 

opes

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Back in the day(2004), trading another 5 tool player was unheard of. Mookie Betts is a much better player that Nomar was, so the idea of trading him is even more insane. I would imagine JBJ, sandy, and Holt already know whats coming. Thankfully Porcello is done. The next big argument down the road will be extending Devers, but lets forget about that for now.
 

Pitt the Elder

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His final numbers are going to have a little sparkle because he turned it on in garbage time. Always better when the pressure is off.
C'mon man, if you're going to make a statement like that, show your work. Betts has has been hot since the ASG, when the Sox were still very much in the playoff hunt. He has a 137 wRC+ in high leverage situations, though admittedly worse than than his medium leverage situations (161 wRC+) but also better than his low leverage situations (110 wRC+). In 2018, his low/med/high leverage wRC+ were 186/177/240(!!). Notably, Mookie's bb % jumps in high leverage situations, likely because pitchers know he will hurt them.

He has his hot and cold spells, but Mookie is always very good to fanfuckingtastic
 
Aug 11, 2019
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At The Ringer, Michael Baumann makes the case that the Sox can and should extend Mookie.
I hope whoever takes over for DD reads this article, because it's basically where I'm at. Move Jackie, dump Sandy Leon, and figure out a few more ways to get creative. Even if Sale is hurt and the team is mediocre next year, I want Mookie on the Red Sox long-term.
That was an interesting article that goes along with my feelings. One thing I did find a little had to understand, though, was Baumann suggesting an NBA-style trade of of getting another team to take on a dead contract [Pedroia] along with a prospect or international slot money after he said the Sox farm didn't have many prospects. If Pedroia has some life left in his career, then perhaps it is possible but he still has $25 million left on his contract, so another team would probably want to Sox to eat some salary in return, which defeats the idea.
 

gedman211

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That was an interesting article that goes along with my feelings. One thing I did find a little had to understand, though, was Baumann suggesting an NBA-style trade of of getting another team to take on a dead contract [Pedroia] along with a prospect or international slot money after he said the Sox farm didn't have many prospects. If Pedroia has some life left in his career, then perhaps it is possible but he still has $25 million left on his contract, so another team would probably want to Sox to eat some salary in return, which defeats the idea.
Isn't Pedroia retiring about a 50/50 proposition at this point?
 

CaptainLaddie

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If they trade Mookie, I'll be absolutely apoplectic.

There is literally no good reason to trade him, outside of him walking into Henry's office and saying "I will never sign a new contract, trade me." Trade away every other contract, eat money, do whatever it takes. He's the best homegrown player this team has had since -- what -- Fred Lynn? Yaz?
 

The Filthy One

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Back in the day(2004), trading another 5 tool player was unheard of. Mookie Betts is a much better player that Nomar was, so the idea of trading him is even more insane. I would imagine JBJ, sandy, and Holt already know whats coming. Thankfully Porcello is done. The next big argument down the road will be extending Devers, but lets forget about that for now.
As much as I loved him, a little of the shine had come off Nomar by the time he was traded. He'd missed the first 57 games of 04 with achilles tendonitis and was going to miss more time in the second half. He was publicly disgruntled from the ARod trade fiasco. So I could see Mookie wanting out if, this offseason, the Sox very publicly try to trade for Mike Trout to play rightfield and then fail, only to see him traded to the Yankees for Miguel Andujar and a bunch of money.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
The unknown factor is Mookie’s agent, who may very well be pushing him very hard to choose free agency, regardless of what the Red Sox offer. Mookie may want to stay in Boston but is hearing nothing from his agent except the old “Baseball is a business” line.
Mookie has always come across as a smart, confident, level-headed young man. It seems unlikely he would let his agent do his thinking for him on a matter of this importance. I assume that when he says his intention to go to FA is a business decision and doesn't imply anything one way or the other about his interest in staying in Boston, he means exactly what he says, nothing more and nothing less. I don't see why we should find this surprising or look for other explanations.
 

RedOctober3829

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If the Red Sox can't come to terms with Mookie, would both sides do Jacob deGrom straight up for Mookie Betts? If DeGrom exercises his opt out after 2022, the Red Sox only would owe him 3 years, $90 million. If he doesn't it adds on another $30.5 million for 2023 and the team would hold a $32.5 million option for 2024. His deal has an AAV for tax purposes of $21.780.

The Mets desperately need a middle of the order hitter to build around and the Red Sox, if all healthy, would have a monster rotation of DeGrom-Sale-Price-Rodriguez for the next 3 seasons. It would be a hell of a lot of money to commit to the rotation, but deGrom is too good to pass up if they're dangling Betts out there.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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If the Red Sox can't come to terms with Mookie, would both sides do Jacob deGrom straight up for Mookie Betts? If DeGrom exercises his opt out after 2022, the Red Sox only would owe him 3 years, $90 million. If he doesn't it adds on another $30.5 million for 2023 and the team would hold a $32.5 million option for 2024. His deal has an AAV for tax purposes of $21.780.

The Mets desperately need a middle of the order hitter to build around and the Red Sox, if all healthy, would have a monster rotation of DeGrom-Sale-Price-Rodriguez for the next 3 seasons. It would be a hell of a lot of money to commit to the rotation, but deGrom is too good to pass up if they're dangling Betts out there.
Not a chance. You really think the Mets are going to give up three years (minimum) of their Cy Young winning ace for one year of Betts? I think the Red Sox do that deal in a heartbeat, but I imagine the Mets hang up on that offer.

All we know is that Mookie has shown no interest in signing a long term deal before he's eligible for free agency. There's been nothing to indicate that that lack of interest is rooted in not wanting to stay in Boston, so it's silly to assume that whatever team acquires him is going to be able to get him to sign an extension and enable themselves to "build around" him.
 

EpsteinsGorillaSuit

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 9, 2003
293
The unknown factor is Mookie’s agent, who may very well be pushing him very hard to choose free agency, regardless of what the Red Sox offer. Mookie may want to stay in Boston but is hearing nothing from his agent except the old “Baseball is a business” line.
That would be malpractice on the agent's part. Of course there is a price at which Mookie would forego free agency immediately. But Mookie is sending a clear message that he's not willing to sign for less than he believes he will command in free agency. Both parties were very aware that the 8/$200M offer two years ago was well below market, and Mookie's performance since, along with the contracts given to Machado, Harper, and Trout, only make that more true today.

When Betts says that he doesn't anticipate signing an extension, I believe he means that it is unlikely that the Red Sox offer him 10/$400M. That is going to be the market rate plus/minus $50M depending on the number of years.

Whether the Red Sox should do that is at least debatable, but I'd say yes. The ownership groups initial $660M investment in 2002 is now worth an estimated $3.2B, in addition to other associated assets. That's an unbelievable return, and their payroll should be quite a bit higher, luxury tax or no.