By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Bruins Senior Staff Writer
As the Red Sox rested prior to a three-game weekend set at Fenway Park against the Orioles on Thursday, WEEI’s Rob Bradford took a rather disturbing rickshaw ride with the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier to discuss his new book “Hometown” that hit the store shelves earlier this week.
During their odd journey around the Fens the subject of Mookie Betts and his contract negotiations with the Olde Towne Team, beginning with his first minor-league deal in 2011.
“From the time that he signed as an amateur, which was minutes before, about 30 minutes in his case before the midnight deadline on August 15 of 2011, he has treated every business negotiation as exactly that – as one that’s not subject to sentiment,” Speier said, “And you know, he believes that it makes all the sense in the world to have the full extent of his abilities recognized financially and he’s not afraid to kind of walk that to the brink.
“So you know, what we’re seeing in terms of how he’s approaching his negotiations with the Red Sox at this point is no different than what got him to the Red Sox initially, and every financial conversation he’s had with them since.”
.@alexspeier talking his new book 'Homegrown' and Mookie Betts contract while riding in a @bostonbiketaxi pedicab. What's better? Listen to Ep. 115 at your leisure: https://t.co/mv6vh3U4LF pic.twitter.com/tg9lcB22JC
— The Bradfo Sho (@Bradfo_Sho) August 15, 2019
Speier’s comments to Bradford come less than 48 hours after Peter Gammons wrote the following on The Athletic regarding the club’s current stance on an extension from an unnamed Sox executive.
Is Mookie Betts signable before becoming a free agent after 2021? They have been scouring other systems in case. “If Mookie wants to stay in Boston, we’ll pay him,” says one Sox official. “We want him to be the face of the franchise. But it’s hard to know. He’s rejected our outreach in the past. We have to know if he’s open to signing a year before he hits free agency at the end of next season.”
As for Betts himself, he’s made no secret about the fact that he is more than comfortable – and by his actions refusing to sign a new contract with the Red Sox that will keep generations of Betts’ out of the bread line for quite a while – go on the market and seeking the highest bidder.
In a previous podcast earlier in June, the Sox right fielder and last year’s AL MVP spoke to Bradford about the cold approach he takes to separating the love for playing the game and his teammates when it comes to the business of baseball saying, “It’s one of those things you have to find a way to separate the two.”
Or as the fictional Arizona Cardinals wide receiver so famously said in the ‘90s film Jerry Maguire, “Show me the money. SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!”
And while Betts, his agent, and the Red Sox brass are the only ones who know just how many greenbacks that John Henry has offered to keep the budding star hitting bombs over the Green Monster for the better part of the next decade, I think it is pretty safe to assume that it was close to the top of the ludicrous level that sought after MLB free agents believe they are due.
Whether or not they can get a deal done quick following what all signs point to as a failure of a season for the soon to be former World Series champs is the biggest question that faces Henry – and possibly current president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, if he survives the purge many pundits who follow the game have suggested may come at the end of the year – is one they can’t take an abundance of time to answer this offseason.
If Betts camp is unwilling to enter negotiations in earnest when the Sox head for the first tee in the first week of October, the club needs to put a bright “open for business” neon sign next to the converted second baseman’s name.
Take it or leave it. That’s the approach whoever Henry deems worthy of taking his team’s helm this fall/winter. After all, business is business.
Follow on Twitter @KevinMFlanagan. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.