As I’m sure you know by now, the Red Sox finally ripped the band aid off and traded Mookie Betts. It’s been rumored, well, really for about a year but they started getting hot and heavy over the last week, and we’ve been in limbo waiting for the thing to actually get completed. Tonight, it happened. Betts, along with David Price, is heading to the Dodgers. Boston is also sending about half the money owed to Price in the deal as well. In return, they get outfielder Alex Verdugo and pitcher Brusdar Graterol, who was sent from the Twins to the Dodgers in exchange for Kenta Maeda.
There will be plenty of time to talk about the baseball implications here. The Red Sox got under the luxury tax. They got their replacements for both players sent away in the deal, albeit much less proven and probably worse. That time isn’t right now, though. The wound is still fresh and I really, super don’t have any interest in talking about the baseball merits of this deal. You’re going to need to let me just be super bummed out for the night, because this fucking sucks.
It sucks that the player I have had the most fun watching since Pedro Martinez is on another team. Pedro was the guy when I first started playing baseball and helped me fall in love with the game. Mookie has been the guy since I started covering the team and helped me enjoy the long, six-hour games in the middle of June.
It sucks that the best position player I have ever seen play for this team, and the best the Red Sox have developed since Ted Willaims is on another team. I mentioned this in this post, but I’ll copy and paste it here as well. By Baseball-Reference WAR, only 21 players have been worth more through their age-26 season. Of them, only (Mike) Trout, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols and Andruw Jones aren’t in the Hall of Fame. Even more impressive, the only players who have been worth more wins by Baseball-Reference’s measure in their first six seasons are: Ted Williams, Trout, Pujols, Jackie Robinson, Wade Boggs and Joe DiMaggio. Again, Betts played in only 52 major-league games in one of those seasons.
It sucks that the Red Sox are trading their best player, as well as one of their top three pitchers, away in a season where winning should have been the only goal. The Red Sox were a disappointing dumpster fire last year where so much went wrong, and they still won 84 games. They had been projected to be a low-to-mid-90s win team, putting them firmly in the playoff picture and thus firmly in a championship picture. They wouldn’t have been the favorites, obviously, but they had a real chance. They decided they’d rather go in a different direction.
It sucks that the word out of the organization and into the various media outlets around town and nationally is that I am supposed to give two shits about financial flexibility and the luxury tax. I understand that nothing I can say will stop teams from thinking this way, but for the love of Aceves if that’s the biggest justification for a trade can we not push that in every column praising the deal? I’ll take another championship if the cost is a couple of down years.
It sucks that, amid this newfound financial flexibility, exactly zero of the savings will be passed on to us, the consumer. Ticket prices are going up this year. Our cable bills aren’t going to go down. Remember this next time you complain about player salaries when you’re buying a $15 Bud Light.
It sucks that the Red Sox leaked the negotiations from last spring in an entirely transparent effort to paint Betts as the greedy party. It sucks even more that it worked.
It sucks that John Henry came out and blamed the media for spreading a narrative that the club wanted to get under the luxury tax this year after he explicitly said that and after the entire offseason has been defined by saving money. Love to have my intelligence insulted by a billionaire.
It sucks that I’ve seen gloating about Betts being traded and about how those in favor were right. Granted, this is far from a majority, but I saw it and I hated it. Congratulations on losing the best player you may ever see in a Red Sox uniform.
It sucks that, just generally, the owners have won the narrative on the luxury tax being this massive penalty to teams. If the Red Sox had kept the payroll they had this morning when we woke up, they would have owed $13 million in taxes.
It sucks that I am still going to watch just about every single game this season, and I would even if it wasn’t my job. It sucks that they know this, and while they may lose a little bit of viewership in the short-term, most diehards aren’t going anywhere.
It sucks that I have (probably) seen my last Mookie Betts home run in a Red Sox uniform, and my last absurd throw, and my last absurd catch, and my last breathtaking baserunning decision. I’ll still watch him on MLB.TV and on the national games, of course, but it won’t be the same.
It all just sucks, man.