“HIGH DEEP DRIVE! HE CRUSHED IT! IT’S A GRAND SLAM…WOW!”
Mookie Betts’ 13 pitch at-bat against the Blue Jays which led to a grand slam that inspired the above call made by commentator Dave O’Brien is only one of the dozens of moments that defined Mookie Betts’ career in Boston. In his six seasons with the Red Sox, the star outfielder brought smiles to fans’ faces and home run balls to stadium seats across the league. The 27-year-old has already cemented himself as one of the best to ever do it, and rivals only Mike Trout for the best today.
To the Red Sox ownership, however, it seems Betts did little but help drive up ticket sales and boost merchandise numbers.
That is judging off of this past week’s news, which saw Betts and teammate David Price shipped off to an actual World Series contender, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Betts will be hitting free agency for the first time in his career after this season and has made it apparent that he wants to be paid like the top player he is. To give credit to Sox ownership, they did try to entice Mookie with an offer on a number of occasions. Heading into the 2019 season, the Sox tried to further cement their chance at repeating as champions by inking Betts to an eight-year, $200 million deal, just four years and $230 million shy of what Mike Trout got the same offseason.
After Betts smartly rejected this offer, the Sox sent him another: 10 years, $300 million. Betts then laughed and hung up the phone (probably). Betts, of course, countered with a deal similar to Trout’s, 12 years, $420 million.
So, the Red Sox did the only logical thing and traded away a generational talent for a couple of guys no one knows and some salary-cap relief. Wait…
For those who still are confused about this trade, don’t feel bad. I’m sure the Babe Ruth trade didn’t make sense when it first happened, but now who would disagree with it? Oh, everyone?
If Betts truly had no intention of returning to Boston, fine. Trade him away now and actually get something instead of no return and one year of play. The truth is Betts never said he would not return to the Sox, he just wanted to test the free-agent market. As one of the best to ever do it, this is not only warranted, but how it should be. For the Sox to try and lowball the face of their organization is shameful, especially considering the team is worth more than any other in Major League Baseball.
Apart from simply trading him, the return is truly the most infuriating part for Sox fans. Did they get some good prospects for the future? Sure, guys like Alex Verdugo and Jeter Downs will instantly be some of the highest prospects in the farm system for the Sox. But the past of some of these players is what is truly reprehensible.
When Verdugo was still in the minor league system for the Dodgers, he and two other players drank partied with three girls, one of which being underage. When the underage woman started becoming ill, the two other women began physically assaulting her, which according to then assistant of player development Nick Francona, was filmed by none other than Boston’s new guy. After this beating the woman received, she says she was sexually assaulted by one of the other players in the hotel room.
So far, this story has been essentially swept under the rug. “Meet the new members of the Red Sox” articles have been written to discuss the on the field performance from the returns of the trade, but as of yet, no one has delved into the troubled past of Verdugo.
The Red Sox traded away their MVP corner-stone player for a few prospects, salary relief and someone with a troubled past. Time will tell the winner of this trade.