Red Sox Convincing Their Fans Mookie Betts Has to Be Traded is an Irredeemable Sports Crime | ADAM BOMB

Mookie Betts
Boston Red Sox superstar Mookie Betts | Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

"Mookie doesn't want to be in Boston."

"The Sox gave him a competitive offer, what more do you want them to do?"

"It's better to get something for him than just some stupid comp picks when he leaves at the end of the year anyway."

Read any Boston area sports blog, or scroll through the Twitter replies to any rumor, and you'll see some variation of these arguments from the most blessed fanbase in America. The Mookie Betts era isn't ending too soon. In fact, for a large portion of the masses, it isn't ending soon enough.

Perhaps they hold so much hardware these days that they truly do prefer prospect capital and some financial tweaks to a potential extra year (or extra decade) of the best home-grown player in their franchise's history. Or perhaps they've been poisoned by a front office once again, one that paid no attention to the luxury tax until they realized, all as one, that they had to keep paying it.

Let's break these garbled messages down.

"Mookie doesn't want to be in Boston."

If you accidentally cropped out a portion of your own head in your Twitter avatar, this may be your opinion.

Yes, of course. Mookie should focus on making Boston a priority, above proper financial compensation and the blazing of a path for future equivalent players on the open market. Only the city of Boston could spit out a chowder chunk this self-important.

He won a World Series in Boston. He won an MVP in Boston. He's an icon. He'd stay, if the team had shown any interest in making that a reality. Instead, the lowest rung of the fanbase has assumed that, since he didn't extend in 2015, he hates it here. Yes, priority No. 1 for Betts is exploring the free agent landscape, out of fairness to any other supremely talented 27-year-olds in the coming years who have an opportunity to do the same. Priority No. 1 for Boston does...not appear to be making him feel welcome.

"The Sox gave him a competitive offer, what more do you want them to do?"

Currently, the Red Sox and Mookie Betts are $100 million apart, and Boston's highest reported offer sits at $300 million long-term. That's a lot of money! But unless you slept through the past several offseasons, you know that's not a competitive offer for Mookie Betts.

Gerrit Cole signed a nine-year, $324 million deal this offseason in New York. Gerrit Cole is older than Mookie Betts. Gerrit Cole appears in only one out of every five games for his team. Betts is the more valuable of the two. A 10-year, $300 million offer from the Red Sox for Betts pales in comparison to what baseball has dictated his worth to be. It's "competitive" only if you've chosen not to crunch the numbers and feel scorned, which Sox fans have conditioned themselves to do.

Is the Cole deal an overpay? Probably. Sometimes you have to do that. Is the Betts proposal an underpay? Eternally.

But there's only so much money to go around, right? A Betts deal may prevent future extensions for core Red Sox players? Ignoring for a second that no one should be more important to your core than the 27-year-old future Hall of Famer you've drafted and developed, it's important to note that a Betts deal now should not stand in the way of anything in the future.

The Red Sox are not losing money. The Red Sox are monstrously profitable. They will be monstrously profitable whether or not they keep Mookie Betts, extend Mookie Betts, or trade goodwill to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"It's better to get something for him."

But think of the something you could get with him: a World Series title.

The Boston Red Sox won 108 games and romped to an easy title in 2018, and returned the same roster, minus Craig Kimbrel, in 2019. They backslid. But what legitimate reason did they have to do so? The bullpen blew more games in the middle innings? That's luck. That's bounces. Amid the rubble, Brandon Workman emerged as a more consistent top-end reliever than high-wire Kimbrel ever was during his Boston tenure.

They lost "clutchness"? I regret to inform you that, year-to-year, that is not real. If I slip some magic beans in the Boston locker room during Spring Training 2020, they just might regain it!

Imagine telling an aggrieved pre-2004 Red Sox fan that, well, we'd really like to win a World Series in Boston, but future financial flexibility is much more important than any current windfall. Imagine willingly sacrificing a shot at a title for any reason.

Then, of course, there's this.

Ah.

Whatever witchcraft the men in charge of the Boston Red Sox pulled while convincing their fans that they both can't and shouldn't pay their budding icon is antithetical to the core principles of sport, but is all too common these days. Perhaps the Sox can find more spare change in their Liverpool logo couch cushions. Ah, right. The other massively profitable enterprise they all own!

It's becoming clear the philosophical shift that Red Sox ownership touted while ending the Dave Dombrowski era was about more than maximizing a potential return on a Betts deal.

There also seems to be a fracture between the two party ideals when it comes to winning at all costs, luxury tax and prospect pool be damned. Unfortunately, when an organization shifts away from that mentality, they also generally pivot from winning altogether.