By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
When the news broke on Tuesday about Mike Trout’s extension with the Los Angeles Angels that resulted in him being paid the astronomical amount of $430 million over the next 12 years, many speculated that this unexpected signing would spurn Red Sox MVP right fielder extraordinaire Mookie Betts into coming to terms with Boston sooner rather than later on a deal to keep him in the Fens for the foreseeable future.
It only took a matter of hours for the former second baseman to slap down any suggestion that he would be willing to work with team president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on a contract that will come being even close to being short of yet another record-setting deal in a sport that seemingly sets them on a yearly basis.
During his time with the media on Wednesday addressing the Trout signing that comes just short of a half of billion dollars (somewhere in Arizona, Ted Williams head is spinning so fast that it might just challenge the cryogenic stasis it is supposedly in), Betts spoke like someone who knows he has all the leverage.
Confirming that the Red Sox did, in fact, approach him about an 8-year, $200 million extension prior to last year’s World Series Championship season, Betts had this to say.
“I’m under no pressure to do anything. It’s OK for two sides to disagree. It’s perfectly fine it’s normal,” said the American League’s reigning Most Valuable Player. “Like I said, I’ve got two more years. I’m going to make the best of them. I’ve got to work on Year 1 right here, go out and do my best to help the team win. Also next year. It’s one of those things where it’s alright to disagree. .. It’s OK. Talks all those type of things. Nothing bad. I love the front office. They’ve done a great job with everything, putting a great team together.
“There’s been a couple of disagreements and then we agreed this year. Just with the talks and those type of things. Just negotiations. That’s part of it.”
All of which is true, yet it should cause Red Sox fans who think that they are going to be watching Betts work his magic in a Boston uniform for the better part of the next decade, to realize that baseball is baseball to this player, no matter where he plays it.
As with most of the mercenaries who play in the oldest organized professional sport in North America, the laundry doesn’t matter as much as the moolah they make playing a kids game.
“I love it here in Boston. It’s a great spot,” said the likely next big lottery winner in baseball. “I’ve definitely grown to love going up north in the cold and all those type of things. But it doesn’t mean I want to sell myself short of my value.”
(Translation: “Value” in a professional athlete’s vernacular means wringing every last dollar they can out of some stupid/desperate franchise that will have buyer’s remorse within the first five years of the decade-plus deals MLB free agents are now demanding.)
When asked if he would still listen to offers from the team that drafted him and helped turn him into the budding superstar that he has become, Betts did his best impression of a presidential candidate speaking but saying nothing at the same time.
“Why not? You should definitely keep your ears open and see what is said. But that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to agree on or take whatever is given. Like I said, I love it here. I think this is great place to be to spend your career here. But that doesn’t mean you should sell yourself short.”
In other words Sox fans, you are currently baseball’s version of Bridget Moynahan. You’re attractive, attentive, comfortable and familiar. However, even after sharing some significant success together, if a Gisele Bundchen comes calling in a couple of years with a boatload of Benjamins in tow, he’ll kick you to the curb in a heartbeat.