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Thursday, November 07, 2019

Mookie Betts, Red Sox have not discussed contract extension

With J.D. Martinez not opting out of his Red Sox contract, all eyes now are on Mookie Betts.

Martinez’s commitment to Boston for 2020 adds to the speculation the Red Sox could choose to trade their superstar right fielder if the two sides can’t come to terms on a contract extension. Betts is set to become an unrestricted free agent after next season, and Sox president Sam Kennedy has admitted “it will be difficult” to keep both sluggers on the roster.

On Wednesday, Kennedy said the two sides have not discussed a possible extension yet this offseason.

“I’m sure we’ll have conversations at the appropriate time,” Kennedy said according to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com.

It’s always something to watch a train wreck in slow motion, isn’t it?

 

QLE Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:22 AM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mookie betts, red sox

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: November 07, 2019 at 03:11 PM (#5899510)
No reason to throw JDM under the bus here, the Sox knew this was coming. The Sox are pushing payroll boundaries -- assuming Mookie would get something close to Trout, over 2021=22 they'd be looking at

Mookie $35
Price $32
Sale $30
XB $20
JDM $20

Which is a lot of money for 5 players and would leave them somewhere in the range of $70-100 M for the rest of the roster (depending on how far they are willing to push the lux tax which would add about $20 M to that $100 M).

All of those guys are tradeable although the Sox would have to eat a chunk on Price and possibly Sale (let's see how he goes) ... and probably a little bit of JDM. They have plenty of options here and can of course afford to run a payroll pretty much as high as they want.
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: November 07, 2019 at 03:15 PM (#5899512)
It’s always something to watch a train wreck in slow motion, isn’t it?
In 2020, they'll either have a 27-year old superstar or some juicy returns from a trade. What a disaster!
   3. jmurph Posted: November 07, 2019 at 03:17 PM (#5899513)
Perhaps I'm alone on this, but I'd like to hear a lot less frequently from Kennedy now that Bloom has been hired. It doesn't seem like the team was lacking a Lucchino type figure the last couple years, but maybe I'm wrong.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5899517)
In 2020, they'll either have a 27-year old superstar or some juicy returns from a trade. What a disaster!

Unless Betts is willing to sign an extension with the trading partner, you're getting relatively little back for the right to pay Betts $30M for one season. Also, if the Sox are contending, how are they going to sell this to their fans?
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: November 07, 2019 at 03:33 PM (#5899519)
Well they can just not tender him a contract to avoid the trainwreck!
   6. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:31 PM (#5899537)
I understand wanting to limit your tax exposure, etc. I get it. Even though the club, etc is worth like $4 billion and the owner is worth billions on his own, it's always nice to save $10-20 mil in taxes.
However there is no reason at all not to offer this guy what he is worth(10/365 or so) and outside of Trout he's pretty much been the most consistent performer over the last 5 years and is young enough to demand a 10 year deal.

I'll be surprised if the Sox don't find a solution for keeping Betts around for next several years.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:34 PM (#5899540)
I'll be surprised if the Sox don't find a solution for keeping Betts around for next several years.

I would be surprised too, but 2019 baseball is through the looking glass when in comes to teams prioritizing profit over wins. So, I guess, I won't be that surprised if I end up being surprised.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:38 PM (#5899542)
I'm not sure that's how surprise works.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:46 PM (#5899545)
I'm not sure that's how surprise works.

Sure it is :-)

Basically I'm saying this should be like 50:1 odds they sign him, but given how screwy baseball is it's probably only 3:1. When a 50:1 long-shot comes in you're "HOLY ####!!!!!". When a 3:1 longshot pays off, you're "Huh, didn't expected that."
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:47 PM (#5899547)
Mookie is young, a great defender, seems like the kind of guy that would age really well. I get that its a lot of money, but you're the Boston flippin Red Sox. I really don't get the issue here.


Which is a lot of money for 5 players and would leave them somewhere in the range of $70-100 M for the rest of the roster


I get it, but $70-100M seems like a lot for the other 20 guys! I think the issue though is you have $27M in dead money in Pedroia and Rusney. But still, with a long-term deal, you can buy some flexibility, right? Like Mookie could get a bit less money this year to get more money later on if they can work it out.
   11. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 07, 2019 at 04:52 PM (#5899552)
When a 50:1 long-shot comes in you're "HOLY ####!!!!!". When a 3:1 longshot pays off, you're "Huh, didn't expected that."
Right, but there you're talking about different degrees of a single-layered surprise reaction, whereas earlier you had proposed a multilayered surprise differentiated by degree. To which I would say, if you weren't that surprised that you were purportedly surprised, then you just weren't that surprised.
   12. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: November 07, 2019 at 05:01 PM (#5899558)
I get it, but $70-100M seems like a lot for the other 20 guys! I think the issue though is you have $27M in dead money in Pedroia and Rusney. But still, with a long-term deal, you can buy some flexibility, right? Like Mookie could get a bit less money this year to get more money later on if they can work it out.

It's not about the immediate payments or cashflow. It's about the luxury tax, and especially about potential draft penalties. And backloading the contract doesn't help with that, since LT calculations are based on the AAV of the contract.

Not that I am defending them on cheaping out on Mookie. You find a way to make the math work, no matter what it takes.
   13. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 07, 2019 at 05:24 PM (#5899563)
All the teams, and their fans, have come to realize that there's no point spending a premium to win more regular season games than necessary to get into the playoffs, when those are random and they're all the league cares to promote (and thus are also all the fans care about).

And the largest contracts are so large that it seems, from other parts of the internet, that more people than ten or fifteen years ago are actively rooting for their teams not to sign players to them.

That second part, I think, probably means that the Red Sox could weather not signing him perfectly well. A lot of their fans will be pleased about it, and others won't care one way or the other. Only a certain subset will be upset.
   14. DCA Posted: November 07, 2019 at 05:55 PM (#5899571)
win more regular season games than necessary to get into the playoffs,

The Red Sox did not get into the playoffs last year. So even if this were true (I think it's mostly not), it doesn't apply to the Red Sox. They are not some big fish in a weak division that can pinch pennies and still roll into the postseason with ease (and even those teams can fail, see this year's Indians).
   15. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 07, 2019 at 06:10 PM (#5899577)
Mookie is young, a great defender, seems like the kind of guy that would age really well. I get that its a lot of money, but you're the Boston flippin Red Sox. I really don't get the issue here.
Neither do I, but the impetus for trading Betts seems to originate with the Red Sox ownership, which I find bizarre. It seems unlikely that John Henry belatedly found out Dombrowski kept 2 sets of books - it was widely noted that the Red Sox would have problems with the luxury tax in 2018, and more so in 2019 and thereafter due to their post-2018 World Series moves. That spending didn’t produce the desired results in 2019, so I suppose I can see bringing in new people to right the ship, but I don’t see why avoiding any luxury tax payments, rather than just the highest tax rate that comes with draft pick penalties, should be the priority. Getting under the entire tax threshold with any kind of a soft landing is a multi-year process, but the Red Sox can afford to pay some tax for a few years before resetting it. If they’re actually considering trading Betts to get under the threshold this year, their priorities seem quite skewed. They can make a lot of money while paying Betts fair market value for his career.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: November 07, 2019 at 10:20 PM (#5899610)
To be clear, I don't think there should be an issue either. But it is a lot of money for 5 players. Pretty sure this would make them the only team with 3 $30M+ players. I'm also guessing that if a deal was going to get done, it would have been done a year or two ago.

It's hard to find good Mookie comps, possibly too hard for my puny brain. But I stumbled across this interesting age 23-26 comp:

Mookie 305/382/535, 175 doubles, 116 HR, 139 OPS+
Nomar 337/386/577, 174 doubles, 113 HR, 142 OPS+

Given the lower BA of today, that comp is probably a bit closer than it looks. Mookie has about 200 extra PA so the counting stats aren't as close as they look but still pretty good (ISOs are about the same). Brett was another guy that came up in my search based on age, BA, OPS+ and dWAR. Mookie beats Brett by about 4.5 WAR and Nomar by 6.

If I drop the dWAR requirement, I get a ton of hitters ... and Mookie still tops the list by WAR pretty comfortably, even over Rickey and Raines. Anyway the comp list is all HoFers (usually of the "good all-around" variety) and guys who were pretty much playing like HoFers until they got hurt (Nomar, Wright, Mauer) -- the only real "collapse" guy is McCutchen. And again, Mookie tops this list in WAR and is 2nd in dWAR (Arenado) and is only seriously beaten by Rickey and Raines in steals. While he doesn't appear on these lists because he didn't break out until age 25, Clemente is another pretty good comp by BA, OPS+, position and defense.

If I look using just a WAR range of 28-38 (integration era) for ages 23-26, the worst player in the comp list is Grich. You'd be not overly thrilled if he had the 30s of Griffey or Santo too. Bonds, Aaron, Mays, Pujols, ARod are all here too. Mookie ends up 4th of 13 in WAR (Trout, Mays, Pujols barely). If we don't believe his defensive numbers, we could whack him 4-5 WAR which is still Rickey, Brett, Grich, Griffey, F Robinson territory.

Sign the man you morons.
   17. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: November 08, 2019 at 08:26 AM (#5899636)
Walt - Mookie has been pretty clear about wanting to test the market. I agree with your "sign the man you morons" sentiment but the fact that a deal should have gotten done a year or two ago I think is as much about Mookie not looking to make it happen as anything else. I think the likeliest result is he stays in Boston (I won't be surprised if he's another one of those "let's sign him just after Opening Day for luxury tax reasons" guys) but the fact that a deal hasn't been done isn't really shocking.
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: November 08, 2019 at 02:20 PM (#5899783)
Walt - Mookie has been pretty clear about wanting to test the market. I agree with your "sign the man you morons" sentiment but the fact that a deal should have gotten done a year or two ago I think is as much about Mookie not looking to make it happen as anything else.
Yeah. People act as if the Sox can force an extension onto him. They've negotiated extensions with other players, and they've also signed players to big huge contracts. So obvious they've demonstrated willingness. It seems probable that he hasn't wanted to sign an extension in the past, but that might change this offseason. Or it might not. Mookie has so far made more money by going year to year, and he's put himself in a great position for the future whichever path he chooses.
   19. jmurph Posted: November 08, 2019 at 04:05 PM (#5899821)
People act as if the Sox can force an extension onto him.

Well not with that kind of attitude they can't.
   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 08, 2019 at 04:26 PM (#5899824)
People act as if the Sox can force an extension onto him.
They should try offering Betts money, a lot of money, for a lot of years.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: November 08, 2019 at 07:25 PM (#5899868)
Put me down with #20. No, of course they can't force him to sign an extension. They can make him an offer that he and Boras will recognize is as good or better than anything they're likely to get on the open market. Obviously there's a breaking point -- if Mookie/Boras genuinely think 10/$450 is coming their way then the Red Sox have "no choice" but to let him go FA. 10/$400 is likely to be substantially too much. Trout essentially got 10/$355 to cover ages 29-38 (Trout ripped himself off and likely limited other players as well). Mookie/Boras (should) know they are not going to beat that, at least not by enough to matter. Offer him something in the range of 10/$350 right now, covering ages 27-36, and, unless he really wants out of Boston, he'll take it. If he does counter at 11/$385 ... consider it. If Boras wants the magical $400 M threshold, discuss some deferred payment structure that keeps the NPV at 11/$385 or less.

Now my guess is Mookie won't really be "worth" that -- I'll WAG another 35-40 WAR** which is probably more in the 10/$320 territory. But the Red Sox print money and their best widnow is the next 3-5 years when Mookie will put up most of his remaining value. Note one standard argument would be "they have one of those years under control already" which is true enough -- but they're gonna pay something close to $30 M for that year anyway so it's not like it's a massive bargain they'd lose out on by extending him.

** That number doesn't come out of nowhere. Despite his "early" collapse, Alomar had 35 WAR from 27-36. Despite being a terrible SS, Jeter had 41 WAR from 27-36. Despite physical decline, a move to RF and refusing to take a walk, Dawson put up 38 WAR 27-36. Despite most of his greatness behind him, Raines had 35 WAR 27-36. Despite missing nearly all of his age 27 season and good chunks of ages 29, 30 and 33, Molitor put up 42 WAR playing mostly a mix of average 3B, average 1B and DH. Despite not playing at all at 36 and being below-replacement at 35, Jim Wynn put up 34 WAR. Despite missing 1.5 seasons thanks to Cindy, Sandberg had 43 WAR. Despite becoming an average 1B at 31, Banks put up 43 WAR. Despite nobody ever really considering him a great player, Abreu put up 40 WAR. And good ol' Dewey Evans put up 43 WAR.

He doesn't have to be Aaron or Mays, he has to be Abreu or Evans or Dawson or Molitor. There are cautionary tales as well of course -- Wright, Nomar, Santo, maybe McCutchen -- but there are also extra success stories like Cano 54 WAR, Beltre 57 (or 43 oWAR), Carew 58, Walker 51, F Robinson 52, Rickey 58 (50 if we zero out baserunning) ... let's not even consider the big ones like Clemente 69 and Morgan 67.

Sign the man you morons.

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