Danny Picard: Mookie Betts has earned right to cash in with Red Sox – Metro US

Danny Picard: Mookie Betts has earned right to cash in with Red Sox

Danny Picard Mookie Betts Red Sox

Mookie Betts wants to be treated fairly. 

That’s what he told reporters on Wednesday, a day after Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels agreed to a 12-year, $430 million extension, the largest contract in the history of North American sports.

Betts never said he wanted out of Boston. But he did imply that he’s not willing to take any type of discount to stay. Nor should he.

The Red Sox’ MVP outfielder should take care of himself, first and foremost. And if anybody has a problem with that, then they should probably be upset with teams like the San Diego Padres, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Angels for dishing out contracts worth $300 million or more over the last month.

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Betts is 26 years old. He is the reigning American League MVP. His contract is up after the 2020 season. So he has two more seasons before he hits free agency at the age of 28, a year younger than Trout would’ve been had he not signed his mega-extension.

Trout was also scheduled to become a free agent after the 2020 season, but now, the prized possession that winter will undoubtedly be Betts.

And Betts knows it. That’s why he went on the record, Wednesday, telling the media that he’s going to test free agency.

“I don’t expect anything to happen until I’m a free agent,” Betts said to reporters at spring training.

Betts went on to say that he “loves” it in Boston, but also said, “That doesn’t mean I want to sell myself short of my value.”

Is that a threat to the Red Sox? Perhaps. But it’s not done with malice. Betts is just playing the game. He’s officially entered a public negotiation with the organization that will pay him $20 million in 2019, after the two sides avoided arbitration with a one-year deal. 

Betts has one more year of arbitration eligibility next offseason. But it’s Trout’s $430 million deal — and $36 million average annual salary — that gives Betts all the leverage in the world.

Many pro athletes envy Betts’ current position. Take NFL star J.J. Watt, for example. After reports of Trout’s new contract emerged, Watt — who makes an average annual salary of $16 million per year — tweeted out, “Hey @HoustonTexans, Mike Trout and I kinda look alike…so how do you feel about 12 years, $430 million fully guaranteed for me too?”

He might’ve played it off as a joke, but deep down inside, Watt was dead serious. NFL players especially would love to be in Betts’ shoes right now. And most pro athletes and their respective players’ unions would probably be upset with Betts if he didn’t try to at least get close to what Trout just signed for.

Right now, all signs point to Betts attempting to do just that.

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Betts has already rejected an eight-year, $200 million deal from the Red Sox, which was offered to him after the 2017 season. Sherman also reported it wasn’t the first offer from Boston that Betts has rejected.

Good for Betts. Why should he settle for anything less than the current market value for an MVP-caliber franchise outfielder in his 20’s? He shouldn’t. 

Will the Red Sox meet his asking price? Who knows. But if they don’t, then somebody else probably will.

And I’ll never blame him for taking the money.

Listen to “The Danny Picard Show” on PodcastOne, iTunes, and Spotify. Follow him on Twitter @DannyPicard. Subscribe to YouTube.com/DannyPicard.

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