As the Red Sox approach this offseason which has a potential for some big moves, Red Sox fans can only hope that all Betts are off. Mookie Betts is as close to untouchable as a player can get. Sure, he’s not at the Mike Trout or Bryce Harper level at this point, but his ceiling is very high. He’s one of the few five tool players in baseball and he adds even more value because of his flexibility. There have been some recent rumors that if the Red Sox were to land a stud pitcher, they may need to consider dealing Betts. Red Sox Nation can only hope that Dave Dombrowski is taking Betts off the table and is poised to keep his two future stars in a Red Sox uniform in Betts and Xander Bogaerts.
Let’s face it. The Red Sox are in dire need of a #1 starting pitcher. They’re going to find a way to get one and they’re probably going to have to give up too much whether that means money or players in a trade. David Price is going to cost a lot of money. They may go this route, but they’ll be competing with multiple teams who will be willing to overpay him. The same is true for Zack Greinke. It’s more likely that the Red Sox will be looking to make a trade to land a starter like Chris Sale, Sonny Gray, or even Matt Harvey. Yes, they need an ace. However, they absolutely cannot give up a player of Betts caliber and value.
Betts hit .291 with 18 home runs and 77 RBI’s in 145 games in 2015. He also had an .820 OPS. These are very impressive numbers for any player, but are outstanding for a 22 year old. If he can put up these numbers at 22 years old, who is to say he can’t hit .320 with 25 homers at age 25? In addition, Betts excelled defensively in centerfield. It was his first full season playing the position and he clearly was a great fit. Jackie Bradley, Jr. may very well be the starting centerfielder next year. Even if he is, Betts playing next to him in right would give the Sox an outstanding defensive outfield.
Like any team, the Red Sox success will be based on its core players. For the Red Sox future, those two players are Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts. These are two potential MVP candidates for years to come. The Red Sox haven’t had two young hitters with this potential in 40 years when Jim Rice and Fred Lynn were rookies in 1975. Many would argue that Dustin Pedroia should be on this list of core players as well and he certainly is in the short term. This leads to the next point which is value. Mookie Betts is signed through 2021. That’s six more years of Betts at a very reasonable without having to worry about free agency. In addition, Betts has even more value because of his flexibility. He can not only play all of outfield positions, but he can also play second base. If the Sox needed a second baseman down the road, they could always move him back there.
The Red Sox have plenty of prospects they can move this offseason to get the pitcher they covet. Blake Swihart and Henry Owens are options they could start with. Considering Betts’ production, contract, potential, and flexibility, there likely isn’t a pitcher in MLB that would match his overall value. Dave Dombrowski is known to make bold moves. Let’s just hope that his moves aren’t too bold this offseason and that Mookie Betts is stapled to the Red Sox organization for years to come.