My dream job is to be the general manager of the Boston Red Sox.
The organization would never consider it, of course. And I guess I don’t blame them. I’ve never worked in baseball, so how could they possibly trust me to put a World Series champion on the field?
Wait a minute. Did I just challenge myself to write a column about what I’d do if I were named the new Red Sox GM? You’re damn right I did.
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was fired nearly two weeks ago. Since, ownership has yet to hold a press conference to answer the tough questions about parting ways with the guy who put together one of the most dominant MLB teams we’ve ever seen.
I’m talking about the 2018 World Series champion Red Sox, not the 2019 edition that we’d all like to forget. So, let’s move on to 2020.
I’d imagine that my job interview for new Red Sox general manager would take place in one of the conference rooms inside the doors of Fenway Park, on the third-base side, with the windows overlooking a cold, empty field that’s filled with both disappointment and intrigue.
Sitting across from principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, and president/CEO Sam Kennedy, I’d expect the first question to be, “What would you do with Mookie B…”
“Three-hundred million, over eight years,” I’d say before Henry could even spit out Mookie’s last name.
“Three-hundred million?” Henry would ask.
“Yes. Three-hundred million,” I’d respond, without any hesitation whatsoever.
My first move as new Red Sox GM would be to offer Mookie Betts an eight-year, $300 million contract. That’s $130 million less than Mike Trout’s 12-year, $430 million deal, and $30 million less than Bryce Harper’s 13-year, $330 million deal. But in a way, with my offer to Betts, who turns 27 next month, less is more.
As in, the average-annual value of an eight-year, $300 million deal is a record-setting $37.5 million per year, higher than Trout’s $35.8 million per year and Harper’s $25.4 million per year.
But, we’re also going to give Betts an opt-out after years three, five, and seven. However, I want this contract backloaded enough to where Betts won’t be all that tempted to hit free agency. So, we’ll give him $33 million per year for the first three years, turning the remainder of the contract into a five-year, $200 million deal, at $40 million per year.
The number $40 million per year might sound crazy to some, but it’s going to be better than paying him $35 million per year for an extra two-to-four years under a 10-to-12-year deal.
The eight-year contract isn’t all that crazy, when comparing it to the market value. Let’s use Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, for example, who signed an eight-year, $260 million contract this past February at the age of 27, with an opt-out clause after year three. That’s $32.5 million per year.
Arenado’s eight-year deal was agreed to just several weeks after he avoided his final year of arbitration by signing a one-year, $26 million deal. The eight-year contract then eliminated that one-year deal.
Betts — who avoided arbitration last winter with a one-year, $20 million deal for this current 2019 season — is entering his final year of arbitration eligibility like Arenado was last winter. My plan is to also scrap Betts’ final arbitration-eligible year and lock him up to an eight-year deal this winter, while also giving him more money than Arenado, who currently is hitting .313 with 40 home runs and 117 RBI with the Rockies. Betts, meanwhile, is hitting .293, with 28 home runs and 78 RBI.
Will Betts and his agent complain about an eight-year, $300 million deal if he’s making more money than Arenado? If he does, then it’s time for Plan B, which is, to trade Betts this winter.
But make no mistake, Plan A is to sign Betts to a long-term deal, and sign Betts to a long-term deal right now.
Assuming we can make that happen, then it’s time to let the rest of the league know that anybody not named Betts, Rafael Devers, and Xander Bogaerts is on the table. We can talk trade about anyone but those three. In fact, I’ll be aggressively shopping David Price, to clear out the $96 million left on his contract over the next three years.
In the process, I’m trading some positional prospects for a right-handed prospect starter who’s ready to make the big-league leap. Maybe I’ll even throw Jackie Bradley Jr. into that trade. Oh, you like a younger Andrew Benintendi more? Ok, fine, you can have him instead.
This is just the beginning of my plan. I can’t give away all my secrets, or I’ll lose leverage in trade talks this winter if I get the job.
Your move, Red Sox.
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