Was the Mookie Betts trade/luxury tax dump worth it for the Boston Red Sox?
Like trying to grade any professional draft a day after it happened, we don’t really know. It’s going to take time.
Nobody in their right mind would say the Red Sox are better today than they were yesterday, because it’s not true.
In fact, newest Red Sox president Chaim Bloom quickly noted the team is not better off, on the field, without Betts and David Price.
Betts is arguably among the top five players in baseball, in a clump with about four guys not named Mike Trout.
Betts is gone because he wanted Trout money, or really, the Trout contract, a dozen years and $400 million.
I can see it from both sides.
Sox got burned a bit by over-paying Price ($210M); then overreacting after the World Series win by over-paying for pitchers Chris Sale ($145M) and Nathon Eovaldi ($68M).
The last two guys basically ruined any chance of signing Betts, which makes Dave Dombrowski’s drunken-sailor-spending tenure look worse, even after winning the 2018 World Series.
But none of this matters. What only matters is the Dodgers and Red Sox going forward.
If the Dodgers and Red Sox each win one or two championships over the next decade, then no problem.
It’s a wash.
If the Dodgers win four titles and the Red Sox go winless, then we got a problem; a big problem.
Remember that deal about 100 years ago: Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $100,000?
The Red Sox were a little full of themselves back then, having won four of the previous eight World Series championships.
The next one after that was 2004.
On the other hand, the Yankees won four of the next 13 titles after acquiring Ruth. And, if you want to get technical, the Yankees won 26 titles before the Red Sox won their first post-Ruth trade.
The similarities between are remarkable.
The Red Sox have won four titles in 16 years.
The Dodgers have not won a title in 31 years. The Yankees had never won before the Ruth trade.
This is different, though, right?
That’s where Bloom comes in. Part of his getting hired was his agreeing to figure this Betts issue out, and dump Price for 50 cents on the dollar.
Bloom has been charged with retooling the Red Sox subpar farm system and competing for championships. They are mentioned together because they go together.
Watching Betts, a probable Hall of Famer, finish in the Top 3 of the National League’s MVP voting won’t be easy.
Watching Betts led the Dodgers to multiple championships will be extremely difficult.
But watching the Red Sox do anything less than competing for championships would be unfathomable.
Just win, baby, and Betts will be a distant memory.
You can email Bill Burt at email@example.com.