As the penultimate year of Mookie Betts' contract nears its end, the 2018 American League MVP's future in Boston still lacks clarity.
Many expect Betts to get "Mike Trout money" if he hits the open market following the 2020 season, so it makes sense the 26-year-old doesn't expect to sign a contract extension with the Red Sox between now and then. However, it appears Boston is willing to shell out the cash for their star right fielder.
Peter Gammons notes in a recent column for The Athletic that according to one anonymous Red Sox official, the organization is willing to pay the hefty price for Betts, but he hasn't shown mutual interest in working out a deal.
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"If Mookie wants to stay in Boston, we'll pay him," says one Sox official. "We want him to be the face of the franchise. But it's hard to know. He's rejected our outreach in the past. We have to know if he's open to signing a year before he hits free agency at the end of next season."
The timing of this tidbit coincides with the recent report the Red Sox may listen to trade offers for Betts this offseason.
While the idea of trading away a player of Betts' caliber may leave some scratching their heads, the Sox front office may be left with no choice. They can't afford to let Betts walk and get nothing in return, so it could be the only sensible option left on the table if he's unwilling to commit long-term.
Betts isn't the only Red Sox star we'll have our eyes on in the coming months as fellow slugger J.D. Martinez will have to decide whether to exercise his opt-out clause at the end of the season.
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