Mookie Betts is a Los Angeles Dodger and has been since 2020, but his tenure with the Boston Red Sox continues to loom large because of how prominent it was.
The slugger came up with the Sox, won an MVP, brought a World Series to Boston that same year in 2018, and took home four Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger awards. Most of his MLB success came in those six seasons with Boston.
So you can understand why Betts continues to be asked about the trade that sent him across the country more than two years ago. On the surface, there was no logical reason to trade a player of his caliber, regardless of how much it was going to cost.
But the Red Sox did it. They imported Tampa Bay Rays executive Chaim Bloom after the 2019 season and were seemingly hell bent on cutting costs and becoming more “efficient”; or, in other words, “cheap.”
Boston’s reported contract offers never appeased Betts, who was dealt after rejecting multiple offers from the club. After arriving in LA amid the global pandemic, Betts quickly agreed to a 12-year, $365 million extension ahead of his contract year.
Naturally, he was asked about this again at the All-Star Game, which Dodger Stadium was hosting on Tuesday night for the first time in 42 years.
Dodgers’ Mookie Betts opens up Red Sox wounds with contract comments
Here’s the latest from Christopher L. Gasper of The Boston Globe (subscription required):
"I asked Mookie if he would’ve taken that contract to stay with the Sox. Anger management class sign-ups might be about to skyrocket in Massachusetts.“Absolutely, I just didn’t get it,” said Betts without hesitation. “That’s the argument. I didn’t get it, so that’s why I am where I am.”Yikes. The Sox would probably beg to differ with that damning characterization. The crucible of baseball in Boston never seemed an ideal fit for Mookie’s Jayson Tatum-like mien. He’s savvy enough not to demean or offend the dart-throwing Sox fanbase by saying the environment wasn’t for him."
Cue Red Sox fans saying Betts is “full of it” for saying this and that he never planned to stay in Boston because of his previous comments about a desire to hit free agency … which were true to an extent. In that GQ profile, Betts also noted had the Red Sox “made the right offer” he undoubtedly would’ve stayed. They didn’t, and now he’s reiterating that sentiment after being asked yet again, as if anybody needed further clarity.
Plus, it doesn’t matter anyway. Unruly Red Sox fans not privy to the facts (or those who enjoy being conveniently misinformed) have already written their own narrative — Betts never wanted to stay in Boston and he signed that extension with the Dodgers because the global pandemic upended the baseball world, creating an uncomfortable amount of uncertainty, so he cashed out. And who wants Betts when you can have Alex Verdugo and Jeter Downs on a roster that’s about be devoid of star players?
The funny thing is … we’re now watching this same scenario play out with Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers. The Red Sox front office is at it again, clearly doing all they can to alienate their best players. How much more honest does Betts have to be for everyone to understand?