It makes sense that Boston, the most sensitive sports city in America, still cares deeply about how their trade of Mookie Betts three years ago is perceived.
Objectively, they lost it. They surrendered one of baseball's most talented players and received a limited package in return, highlighted by a regressing Alex Verdugo. Chaim Bloom has made plenty of impressive tactical maneuvers during his time heading the Red Sox. This one, dictated by ownership, was not one of them. The Red Sox will be fine. They would be better if they'd extended Mookie Betts. They didn't. It is what it is.
Depending on which side is speaking, blame will shift in this Betts tug-of-war until the day he's carrying his Hall of Fame plaque featuring the Dodgers' "LA" cap. Boston fans believe Betts had no intention of remaining in their city long-term, no matter what the offer. Betts has routinely disputed that notion, claiming he wanted only to test free agency (though he probably knew, deep down, Boston's ownership wouldn't approach his desired number).
Entering his Fenway Park return series this weekend, Betts told the Boston Globe that the rumored 10-year, $300 million contract he "turned down" from the Red Sox never actually materialized. This directly contradicts something Betts stated in 2020.
So which is it? Only Bostonians trying to defend their reputation against the baseball world's barbs (which have now mostly been silenced?) care. Boston ownership prioritized financial flexibility in a Betts trade by including David Price's contract, rather than maximizing their asset. If Betts was "always fated to be in LA," Boston took the less prosperous path in sending him there. Either way, the Red Sox lost this trade, but have moved on in so many respects since that pivot point, executing a different (and fairly successful) plan. So why do their own fans insist on digging in and getting to the bottom of this barely mysterious moment in history?
Boston fans still obsessed with Red Sox contract offer to Dodgers star Mookie Betts
"Not saying he's lying today, just saying he's lying." That tweet couldn't be more quintessential Boston if it was covered in lobster knuckles and drenched in butter.
Betts is a Dodger now. Betts believed he'd be a Red Sox forever. Betts was wrong. No Bostonian has the right to transcripts of the private conversations that occurred between their former superstar and Sox ownership four years ago. No Bostonian should still be scrounging for scraps that might make themselves proud of a generational talent's departure rather than resentful. No Bostonian will receive Extra Baseball Points for catching Betts in a lie.
If he wanted to stay in Boston, the Red Sox should've made that happen. If he wanted to leave, the Red Sox should've flexed their financial muscles, retained David Price, and drained the Dodgers even dryer. The Red Sox messed this up. They're improving, but this was an eternal swing and a miss. Instead of taking a magnifying glass to Betts' past four years of quotes, it's OK to wear a singular L.