Mookie details Boston exit

scottyno

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Dodgers got a great deal on Mookie, certainly as far as 12 year contracts go.

His contract was backloaded and significantly deferred, "only" valued at 306M compared to the 365M reported.

I wonder if the Red Sox knew they could get the rest of Mookie's career for 306M they would have kept him.
Considering they tried to give him 300m while he still had 2 years left of arbitration I'm gonna say yeah they would have gone up to 306
 

Pat Spillane

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Here's the key quote:



I've heard tons of "he didn't want to be here" nonsense and he specifically refutes that.

Just because he says it in an interview after he signed with the Dodgers doesnt make it true. This question will have been well planned for by Mookie Betts inc before going on the show.. Its like the corporate world most of us work for. When somebody higher up speaks its usually just words that the audience they speak to wants to hear. Not saying Mookie wanted to stay or leave, none of us know. Any words he speaks to a Boston based audience will be nothing more than CEO speak. Words to placate the masses
 

daltonsoxfan

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It's always interesting to look back on events that led to significant changes. I personally always took Mookie at his word that there would be a business decision when it finally became contract time. I've read where the "real value" of his contract is "only" $300 million because of deferred salary, etc - but I don't know what the Sox finally offered and if it's only $300 million I guess he'll have to live with it. I do remember reading that Fred Lynn always regretted leaving Boston and I would bet that Nomar wishes he had a different outcome in 2004.
 

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For anyone who has been willing to be objective about this the story has always been the same - Mookie wanted to be a free agent as quickly as possible.

Elite players that hit free agency who re-sign with their teams in the last 20 or so years?
 

glennhoffmania

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For anyone who has been willing to be objective about this the story has always been the same - Mookie wanted to be a free agent as quickly as possible.

Elite players that hit free agency who re-sign with their teams in the last 20 or so years?
ARod
 

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Considering they tried to give him 300m while he still had 2 years left of arbitration I'm gonna say yeah they would have gone up to 306
Here's the thing, Boston sure as hell would have gone up to a value of $306. But at that time there is no way Mookie would have accepted it. Covid changed things. But he was a Dodger then.

For anyone who has been willing to be objective about this the story has always been the same - Mookie wanted to be a free agent as quickly as possible.

Elite players that hit free agency who re-sign with their teams in the last 20 or so years?
There is a point to this. But I do think a team like the Sox should sign and keep such an elite player they developed. We will never know what Mookie would have gotten in a "normal" free agency though.
 
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Traut

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There is a point to this. But I do think a team like the Sox should sign and keep such an elite player they developed. We will never know what Mookie would have gotten in a "normal" free agency though.
The thing is free agency is an efficient market.

The Dodgers may calculate that Mookie is worth X to them and the Red Sox calculate he is worth Y to them. Lots of this has to do with how the teams are positioned. Mookie was worth more to the Dodgers because they calculated he would push them over the edge to win a World Series which comes with a revenue bump. The Sox looked at the next 3 years and could have reasonably determined their next window was 2023. In which case, it didn't matter much what Mookie brought to the table.

It is a business. And that is the reason that free agents almost always sign with other teams. The value of a player differs meaningfully from team to team.
 

jon abbey

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The thing is free agency is an efficient market.
I have to disagree with this. The majority of big money FA deals end up hurting the teams that sign the players, not helping them. The smarter teams know this and thus tend to stay away, it's the worse run teams looking for a splash that tend to sign players and then often have those deals blow up in their faces (hello, Cano to SEA for 10/240).

So even if that is technically 'an efficient market' (not sure), there should be a better term for it.
 

Sausage in Section 17

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I understand that at the time, given the respective long-term contracts each franchise had on the books, it isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. But it's kind of strange that the Red Sox saw giving Mookie that big of a contract as a poor business move; and then he went and signed the big contract that was given to him by the consensus model franchise in baseball; someone the Red Sox have not been shy about wanting to copy themselves after.
While the Sox may try to emulate the Dodgers' player development, I think it stops there. I don't know how you can say a franchise that is essentially ignoring the luxury tax is the model for other teams.
 

nvalvo

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While the Sox may try to emulate the Dodgers' player development, I think it stops there. I don't know how you can say a franchise that is essentially ignoring the luxury tax is the model for other teams.
Well, we'll see how long that lasts with the new CBA. But the Dodgers also have a considerably larger market than even all of New England, a beloved historic stadium that seats 50k, an $8b TV deal... But even so, they, just like Boston, have been dipping back under the threshold to reset their tax every few seasons. So they don't exactly "ignore" it. The difference seems to be that they max out around $300m instead of $240m (or whatever the Sox have done) in the seasons they go over. And given their revenues, it's easy to see how they should just ignore the monetary penalties.
 

Kliq

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All I'm saying is that the Sox brought in Bloom for a reason; and the Dodgers, under Friedman, obviously have the Tampa roots as well. I think "Rays with money" is the ultimate goal a lot of people saw/see with the Red Sox moving forward under Bloom, which is basically the Dodgers (a strong farm system, consistent flexibility, but willing to spend the money to retain their best players). And the Red Sox traded Mookie because they didn't want to pay him is market-rate contract and didn't want to lose him for nothing; and then Mookie went and signed a huge contract with the Dodgers; again a team that I think the Red Sox would want to model themselves after. You can say that the Dodgers are foolish for giving Mookie that contract as well, but they have been the model organization in baseball and they thought Mookie was worth it.

Well, we'll see how long that lasts with the new CBA. But the Dodgers also have a considerably larger market than even all of New England, a beloved historic stadium that seats 50k, an $8b TV deal... But even so, they, just like Boston, have been dipping back under the threshold to reset their tax every few seasons. So they don't exactly "ignore" it. The difference seems to be that they max out around $300m instead of $240m (or whatever the Sox have done) in the seasons they go over. And given their revenues, it's easy to see how they should just ignore the monetary penalties.
I have zero patience for an argument that the Dodgers are a big market team that can do things the Red Sox cannot. The Red Sox have consistently been a top-spending team in the past; have a huge fanbase of wealthy fans (New England has a bigger population than the LA Metro area, FWIW, and yeah Connecticut has Yankee fans, but LA is also full of transplants, not to mention Angel fans) that have always supported the team. Most expensive tickets in baseball, Fenway Park has become a tourist trap, etc. The Dodgers have the big local TV deal, although that is more complicated since the Sox own a higher percentage of their local TV station, so it's not an apples-to-apples comparison.
 

jon abbey

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No one is specifically solely copying the Dodgers or the Rays. Right now there are a handful of teams being run brilliantly (LAD, HOU, TB, NYY, maybe MIL) and any intelligent organization is stealing all the ideas and philosophy they can from all of them, including those teams stealing ideas/philosophy from each other.
 

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No one is specifically solely copying the Dodgers or the Rays. Right now there are a handful of teams being run brilliantly (LAD, HOU, TB, NYY, maybe MIL) and any intelligent organization is stealing all the ideas and philosophy they can from all of them, including those teams stealing ideas/philosophy from each other.
The Dodgers and Rays keep getting brought up because both Friedman and Bloom cut their teeth with the Rays and Friedman was Bloom's mentor.

There's a direct link between those two teams and the Red Sox. Chaim got this job because of the success of the Rays despite having a payroll of about $14.38.
 

jon abbey

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The Dodgers and Rays keep getting brought up because both Friedman and Bloom cut their teeth with the Rays and Friedman was Bloom's mentor.

There's a direct link between those two teams and the Red Sox. Chaim got this job because of the success of the Rays despite having a payroll of about $14.38.
OK, and Chaim also did all he could to stock the BOS system with former NYY prospect pitchers, Whitlock, German, Ort, a few others who haven't been as successful. He wasn't plundering the TB or the LAD system, just because your roots are in a certain philosophy doesn't mean you don't also grab all you can from other successful approaches.
 

jon abbey

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I mean, the Yankees signed Matt Blake away from the Indians to try to mimic their incredible pitching pipeline, there are good ideas to be had in many places, no team is solely copying any other team.
 

Archer1979

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All I'm saying is that the Sox brought in Bloom for a reason; and the Dodgers, under Friedman, obviously have the Tampa roots as well. I think "Rays with money" is the ultimate goal a lot of people saw/see with the Red Sox moving forward under Bloom, which is basically the Dodgers (a strong farm system, consistent flexibility, but willing to spend the money to retain their best players). And the Red Sox traded Mookie because they didn't want to pay him is market-rate contract and didn't want to lose him for nothing; and then Mookie went and signed a huge contract with the Dodgers; again a team that I think the Red Sox would want to model themselves after. You can say that the Dodgers are foolish for giving Mookie that contract as well, but they have been the model organization in baseball and they thought Mookie was worth it.
There is a fundamental problem with the "Rays with money" approach as it pertains to the ability to retain high performing players before they hit free agency...

The Rays typically trade those types of players for get the best basket of prospects back that they can, which fuels the next generation of Rays. They will try to lock up a player to push off free agency as long as they can (like Evan Longoria). When that contract runs out, they're usually headed to LA via a trade.

In other words, should the Sox FO try to follow this model, the Sox can't simply let Devers and X wander into FA. They have to trade who they deem that's not worth it to retain and get a good basket of prospects back and being in contention year to year works against you. Another problem is that to get the best deal back, the other team needs to 1) be in contention and desperate for a WS 2) have a well-stocked farm 3) know full well that the played that's moving is a rental (unless they have the cash to retain the play themselves).
 

nvalvo

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I have zero patience for an argument that the Dodgers are a big market team that can do things the Red Sox cannot. The Red Sox have consistently been a top-spending team in the past; have a huge fanbase of wealthy fans (New England has a bigger population than the LA Metro area, FWIW, and yeah Connecticut has Yankee fans, but LA is also full of transplants, not to mention Angel fans) that have always supported the team. Most expensive tickets in baseball, Fenway Park has become a tourist trap, etc. The Dodgers have the big local TV deal, although that is more complicated since the Sox own a higher percentage of their local TV station, so it's not an apples-to-apples comparison.
There's more to market size than population. But if you look back at my post, what I was actually trying to say was that Boston and LA are playing the CBT game pretty similarly in spite of the difference in market: ducking under every few years to reset the tax. The difference is just that LA goes over by $80m when they go over, while Boston goes over by $30m.
 

jon abbey

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There's more to market size than population. But if you look back at my post, what I was actually trying to say was that Boston and LA are playing the CBT game pretty similarly in spite of the difference in market: ducking under every few years to reset the tax. The difference is just that LA goes over by $80m when they go over, while Boston goes over by $30m.
And any difference here has nothing really to do with money (IMO), it is all about the non-financial penalties that impact the adding of new talent. LAD has such a loaded system, they are OK with those, whereas Chaim is still trying to build BOS's system back up whenever possible.
 

Jungleland

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I think it was pretty clear he wanted to play for one of the big market teams AND it to be either NY or LA. Maybe Cubs? The guy is a superstar and while Boston has a disproportionate love ratio when it comes to population to MLB players..... it just doesn't have the glamor and allure the LA or NY does and it's always going to be a little sticking point when it comes to transcendent star athletes.
I think both X and Devers are stars... they don't have that transcendent quality that Mookie has. Don't think there's a stat for it but being a damned good looking dude doesn't hurt.
Is there really truth to the idea that there's a higher ceiling for superstardom in LA than Boston? I might believe it about NY, but "level of fame you can achieve as most famous baseball player" seems to me to be one of the handful of categories where Boston actually holds serve with LA in appearing a major American city. Pedro and Ortiz (and Manny, heh) could have attained greater star power as Dodgers? I don't buy it.

I agree with everyone here who said all 3 sides made logical decisions at the time that almost immediately look different because of how COVID affected the landscape. But it still sucks, and I don't blame anyone who still hasn't regained a pre-trade level of interest in the team. The Pats have trained me to look at these things as businesslike as possible, but for whatever reason this has always felt different to me. It might be that 4 championships and a handful of last place years in between have me pre-conditioned to the Sox' fortunes ebbing and flowing, it's probably that I hold an enormous grudge for the return being Verdugo, but either way I still don't take much solace in the logic of it all.
 

snowmanny

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Players come and go, always have, always will. Not being as interested in the team because Mookie’s gone seems silly to me, unless you are a child and don’t understand how these things work. (maybe that’s a little harsh, but it’s been a few years now…)
It means something to me that the Red Sox didn't trade Ted Williams in 1947 for a couple 1.5 WAR players, even though they never won another pennant with him and I never saw him play. That's just me though.
 

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It means something to me that the Red Sox didn't trade Ted Williams in 1947 for a couple 1.5 WAR players, even though they never won another pennant with him and I never saw him play. That's just me though.
Apples and oranges. Ted Williams was never and could never leave of his own volition as a free agent.
 

snowmanny

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My point is that I feel it adds to the aura of a franchise to have elite players stay on the team for their whole career. Maybe there is nothing the team can do to keep them, sure, but I have my doubts on this one.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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My point is that I feel it adds to the aura of a franchise to have elite players stay on the team for their whole career. Maybe there is nothing the team can do to keep them, sure, but I have my doubts on this one.
It is an aura that is essentially a relic of the reserve clause era. Elite players staying with one team throughout their career are becoming rarer and rarer. Try to name even five such players among recent/active players. Trout and Votto are the only actives that leap to mind. Otherwise it's guys who appear to be possibilities, but aren't on long term/career length contracts.

As fans, it would be great to see players stay in one place. It's just not the reality anymore due to free agency and ever increasing salaries (that players are deserving of, IMO). It's arguably an unreasonable expectation for any player these days.
 

Sad Sam Jones

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Jose Ramirez will be under contract with Cleveland for at least 16 years, but he had to be willing to be the most underpaid player of this millennium for that to become a reality.
 

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Jose Ramirez will be under contract with Cleveland for at least 16 years, but he had to be willing to be the most underpaid player of this millennium for that to become a reality.
He signed his extension when he was still two years away from FA. If he wanted that kind of security two years in advance there was going to be a discount. He obviously must like being in Cleveland, and I never understood why that rarely seems to be a consideration. I'd much rather make $150m in Boston than $200m in, say, Phoenix. Maybe Mookie didn't like Boston, and that's a perfectly legitimate reason to not agree to an extension.
 

Sad Sam Jones

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That was the second team-friendly long-term extension Ramirez signed. After his breakout season in 2016, he signed a 5-year $26M deal + 2 team options. The reason he still had 2 years of team control left when he signed the new deal this spring is because he'd already given up his first two years of free agency in favor of two team options that would have only paid him a total of $26M. To Cleveland's credit, they tore up those two team options and will pay him an additional $10M total on them.

When it's all said and done, Francisco Lindor, who came up with the same team about two years later, will make well over $200M more than Ramirez.
 

TonyPenaNeverJuiced

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I’m not… but I think to discount my suspension that Betts had superstar LA dreams that wasn’t happening in most cities is also ignoring some evidence
Is there really truth to the idea that there's a higher ceiling for superstardom in LA than Boston? I might believe it about NY, but "level of fame you can achieve as most famous baseball player" seems to me to be one of the handful of categories where Boston actually holds serve with LA in appearing a major American city. Pedro and Ortiz (and Manny, heh) could have attained greater star power as Dodgers? I don't buy it.
I am a Dodgers season ticket holder (first year after going to 40+ last season). Most nights, I listen to the Sox as I arrive at the ballpark and often bring headphones so I can hear the last couple of innings. A huge factor for me was that I get to watch Mookie Betts, in person, most nights.

Not captured in this thread is how beloved Mookie is in L.A. It's bonkers. Maybe it's the combination of skill, winning the ring, Kobe's passing (not to be discounted: a young African-American star comes to a reeling city and wins a ring - huge). I see as many "BETTS" jerseys as both Turner's combined, Muncy (a surprisingly popular choice), and the only one who rivals (and probably eclipses) is Kershaw. There are murals all over town that feature Betts. The city LOVES this guy, loves that he came, chose to stay, and remains an elite+ talent. What's more, it's obvious how much the team loves him (Dave Roberts in particular).

So is there a higher ceiling generally? Not clear. But I do believe in this case there is. Can't discount nationality here, tbh: would Pedro or Ortiz be bigger stars in L.A.? Harder to imagine with the [relatively but significantly] smaller Dominican/Caribbean population (note: ~900,000 of L.A. county's population identifies as African American/Black . . . more than the total population, of any race, in Suffolk County MA). This is not to say being black means you love any black player, but it certainly factors into the idea that he could be a bigger star there, or perhaps mean more to more people.

Now, if your name is Fitzgerald . . . maybe you stick it out in Boston.
 

jon abbey

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Funny to read that last post right after the thread where 27 year old Ryan Fitzgerald (28 next week) can't get a shot in BOS.
 

nvalvo

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It is an aura that is essentially a relic of the reserve clause era. Elite players staying with one team throughout their career are becoming rarer and rarer. Try to name even five such players among recent/active players. Trout and Votto are the only actives that leap to mind. Otherwise it's guys who appear to be possibilities, but aren't on long term/career length contracts.

As fans, it would be great to see players stay in one place. It's just not the reality anymore due to free agency and ever increasing salaries (that players are deserving of, IMO). It's arguably an unreasonable expectation for any player these days.
Others: Dustin Pedroia, Joe Mauer, Buster Posey, Yadier Molina, Chipper Jones, Clayton Kershaw (almost certainly)... It's rarer than it used to be, but it's not that rare.
 

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Others: Dustin Pedroia, Joe Mauer, Buster Posey, Yadier Molina, Chipper Jones, Clayton Kershaw (almost certainly)... It's rarer than it used to be, but it's not that rare.
Molina is a good one I forgot about. Suppose Wainwright should go right alongside him. The only catch (no pun intended) with guys like Mauer and Posey and even Pedroia is that they retired relatively young. They also signed long term deals well before they were eligible for free agency, which is kind of a telling sign IMO. When guys are intent on becoming free agents, it usually doesn't bode well for their chances of staying in one place forever. And it often doesn't matter what team they start with or how big the team's budget is. Such players are very much the exception rather than the rule. Expectations should factor that in.
 

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None of those guys were also ever close to being considered the best player in the game. Obviously, Trout is, and had the Sox made Mookie the highest paid player in history, he’d still be here.
 

pdub

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I miss Mookie and wanted the team to re-sign him, but I get it. Both he and the team made the decisions they needed to, so it is all good. Would have been nice to see him make the HOF in a Sox uni, but it is what it is. We got other players on the team to be thrilled about.
 

nvalvo

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None of those guys were also ever close to being considered the best player in the game. Obviously, Trout is, and had the Sox made Mookie the highest paid player in history, he’d still be here.
Well, the bar was "elite."

That list contained a couple ROY/MVPs, a couple MVPs, a 10x All Star with 9 Gold Gloves who finished as high as 3rd in MVP voting, and an MVP/3x Cy Young Winner with a Pitching Triple Crown.
 

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None of those guys were also ever close to being considered the best player in the game. Obviously, Trout is, and had the Sox made Mookie the highest paid player in history, he’d still be here.
No? The Twins signed Mauer to ensure he’d be with them for most if not all of his career after he won his third batting title, second gold glove, and the MVP - as a catcher. I think a lot of people thought he was close to the best player in the game at that point.

A couple of years later, Posey won a batting title, his second WS ring, and the MVP, two years after being ROY, and people certainly had him in the convo as best player in the game (although that new kid in the AL winning ROY looked promising).

After winning his 3rd CY and the MVP, Kerhsaw was considered the best pitcher in the game, which had him on the short list for best player.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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So painful. It's a disgrace he's not still here.

And to think of all the posters here who assured me that his best days were well behind him...
 

moondog80

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So painful. It's a disgrace he's not still here.

And to think of all the posters here who assured me that his best days were well behind him...
This seems strawman-ish. Lots of people said he might not live up the length of the deal, I don't recall anyone (or many people) saying his best days were well behind him.
 

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This seems strawman-ish. Lots of people said he might not live up the length of the deal, I don't recall anyone (or many people) saying his best days were well behind him.
No one ever lives up to the lengths of their deal. If you want to sign stars to the going rate/length of contract, you have to accept it. Otherwise this is going to keep happening over and over and over and over again.
 

moondog80

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No one ever lives up to the lengths of their deal. If you want to sign stars to the going rate/length of contract, you have to accept it. Otherwise this is going to keep happening over and over and over and over again.
The logical extension of this is that they should always be the highest bidder, and meet every single contract demand a player makes. If multiple teams took this approach players would be making infinity.

Now, maybe they should have met the price he set. That's another argument. It has nothing to do with that fact that virtually nobody said Mookie's best days were well behind him. Which is the only point I made.
 

Kliq

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IDK if anyone said "Mookie's best days are behind him" but I definitely remember people arguing that Mookie's defense was already starting to decline (as it does with most players entering their late 20s) and that since Mookie's defense is a bigger part of his value than most, he would be unlikely to hit the heights of his previous best seasons.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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There were plenty of people who said his defense would diminish, his declining speed would rob him of hits and value on the basepaths, that 2018 was an outlier and he was really good, not great, etc...
That’s not quite the same thing, is it? Your line was that folks said his best days were behind him

HAS vs.WILL

I hope you won’t deny that his defense WILL diminish as will his speed.
 

trekfan55

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It is my understanding that the Dodgers deal was below what Mookie wanted before the trade. COVID changed the equation.

Had the Red Sox not traded him and he been part of the team in 2020 then we can talk. Edit to clarify, if Mookie had been a Red Sox in 2020 and then did not sign with the Sox.

While I do believe the Sox should have given Mookie whatever he wanted (he is a generational talent and was drafted and developed by Boston, that has value) it is not my (or our money) and in the end management made their decision.

What upsets me more is that these deals do not usually pan out. Had the Sox gotten an uber prospect in exchange then maybe it would hurt less.
 

moondog80

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IDK if anyone said "Mookie's best days are behind him" but I definitely remember people arguing that Mookie's defense was already starting to decline (as it does with most players entering their late 20s) and that since Mookie's defense is a bigger part of his value than most, he would be unlikely to hit the heights of his previous best seasons.
If defense does start to decline with most players entering their late 20s, and defense was a bigger part of his value that for most (both of which are true), arguing that he would be unlikely to his the heights of his of previous seasons seems like a pretty reasonable prediction to make back in 2020, regardless of how it has actually worked out to this point.
 

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2018 WAS an outlier. Still is. By OPS+ it is over 25% better than his next best season. Doesn't mean he's not a great player, because he is. But it was, is, and probably will continue to be a true statement.
There were plenty of people who said his defense would diminish, his declining speed would rob him of hits and value on the basepaths, that 2018 was an outlier and he was really good, not great, etc...