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Mookie Betts Trade Rumors: Execs Believe Red Sox Will Listen to Offers in 2020

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2019

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 02:   Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 02, 2019 in New York City. The Yankees defeated the Red Sox 4-2. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox might "listen" to trade offers in the offseason for reigning American League MVP Mookie Betts, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi.

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Could the Red Sox move on from Mookie Betts in 2020? @jonmorosi breaks it down: https://t.co/MaH1yIwvt5

Betts has one year of arbitration remaining. The New York Post's Joel Sherman reported in March the four-time All-Star turned down an eight-year, $200 million offer from the Red Sox following the 2017 season. Sherman added:

"Two other sources said the Red Sox have made several attempts at a long-term deal with Betts, including this past offseason, with the Betts camp not even making a counter-proposal. The All-Star has instead been comfortable with the risks of going a year at a time in exchange for the reward that could come with patience."

While he hasn't reached the heights he did in 2018, Betts remains one of MLB's best outfielders. He's hitting .279 with 19 home runs, 59 RBI and a .483 slugging percentage. He's tied for 13th in WAR (4.1) among position players, per FanGraphs.

The 26-year-old is looking at a massive payday when he hits free agency in 2021.

Mike Trout set the market for elite sluggers when he signed a 12-year, $426.5 million contract extension in March. Trout is in a class of his own, though, so Betts might struggle to collect that kind of money. He could justifiably demand something close to Manny Machado's 10-year, $300 million deal or Bryce Harper's 13-year, $330 million contract.

At $227.2 million, the Red Sox have the highest payroll in MLB, per Spotrac. Boston already has $126.7 million committed in 2021 as well, also the league's highest. That's before factoring in an extension for Betts that could approach $30 million-plus based on the current market.

Morosi speculated that trading Betts would not only avoid putting further strain on the Red Sox financially but also allow them to strengthen their starting rotation with younger pitchers with years of team control.

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