Mets: Mookie Betts doesn’t make sense without an extension plan
By Tim Boyle
Early offseason rumors have suggested the Boston Red Sox could trade star outfielder Mookie Betts. For the New York Mets, it only makes sense if they can lock him up to an extension immediately.
If you’ve gotten a jump on the New York Mets offseason, you may have heard some suggest the team go after 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts. The star Boston Red Sox outfielder is a year away from free agency, playing for a team hoping to lower its payroll. It feels like a trade away from Beantown is in Betts’ near future.
Where do the Mets factor into this? Well, as many have suggested, Brodie Van Wagenen is expected to remain aggressive this winter in hopes of building a contender. There isn’t a bigger splash he can make. A thousand Hamilton Porters diving into a swimming pool cannonball style wouldn’t create the same kind of wave BVW would if he acquired Betts.
Even with just one year left of control, Betts will cost a small fortune. In most trade scenarios fans and others have painted, names like Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto, and Dominic Smith would be involved. Because the Mets lack a deep farm system and we should expect the Red Sox to have hopes of contending sooner than later, it makes sense for them to target big leaguers in any deal for Betts.
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From a Mets perspective, the biggest flaw in acquiring Betts is how it would hurt the team in other ways.
Even if extra pieces were all side dishes (players at positions with better options, minor leaguers years away from the big leagues, etc.) the trade for Betts doesn’t do the Mets much good unless there’s a long-term plan to keep him around. Otherwise, they’re moving assets for one year of making a run with him on the roster.
With the possibility of Betts striking a deal with an AAV of around $30 million, it’s impossible to envision the Mets as realistic bidders. In the words of Jeff Wilpon, I’m not sure how many teams have more than one $30 million player.
When he says it next time, though, he won’t be referring to Yoenis Cespedes. Instead, the Mets have the built-in excuse that they paid Jacob deGrom and have no reason to pursue Betts.
The timing doesn’t work out favorably for the Mets—or any team for that matter. They could conceivably trade for him and then extend him like they did with Johan Santana back in the day. But to quote another genius, this time instead of a Wilpon, Vizzini from The Princess Bride, it’s actually, “Inconceivable!”
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Dreams of seeing Betts patrol center field at Citi Field will only come true if he’s there in a pair of road greys. There are superstars we can ask for and others who appear far too out of reach. Betts fits into the latter because of everything else that will need to happen to make a trade with it.