Report: Teams ‘highly skeptical’ Red Sox will trade Mookie Betts
Mookie Betts has been mentioned as a possible trade target this offseason with the Boston Red Sox looking to cut payroll, but there is apparently a growing belief that the former AL MVP is not going anywhere — at least in 2020.
Rival teams are “highly skeptical” that the Red Sox are going to trade Betts this winter, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. The reason for that is the return may not be enough, as teams know they can likely wait until Betts becomes a free agent next winter and sign him then.
Rival clubs remain highly skeptical the #RedSox will trade Mookie Betts this winter, saying Boston's return would be too low. Teams interested in him can simply wait until he's a free agent next winter, saving the $27-$30 million in 2020 without giving up any prospects in a deal.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 6, 2019
Even if the Red Sox are unhappy with what they could get in a potential Betts trade, keeping him through 2020 makes little sense if they have no plans to sign him to a long-term extension. Betts is expected to command a record arbitration salary for 2020, and Boston’s only motivation for keeping him for one more season would be to try to win another World Series with him. Considering they have openly said they are looking to trim payroll, it seems like they would shy away from a short-term approach like that one.
The more likely scenario is that the Red Sox keep Betts through the winter and then reassess at the trade deadline. Unless they feel they are a clear World Series contender at that point, it would make sense to unload boats and get some prospects in return. Of course, they have deep enough pockets that they could always re-sign him, as well.
With JD Martinez choosing not to opt out for 2020, the Red Sox have basically admitted that keeping Betts will be a difficult task.