Red Sox

If Plan A was keeping Mookie Betts, it feels like Red Sox are moving to Plan B

If Plan A was keeping Mookie Betts, it feels like Red Sox are moving to Plan B

When Red Sox ownership finally addressed Dave Dombrowski's dismissal in late September, chairman Tom Werner made what remains the most honest and revealing assessment of the team's approach to superstar Mookie Betts.

"We've stated publicly that we would hope he would stay with us the rest of his career," Werner said. "We have made proposals to him in the past and he did want to test free agency, which is his right. And we'll have some conversations with him going forward. But obviously there'll be a point where hopefully we can make a deal or we'll decide at that point what is plan B or plan C, but we haven't gotten to that point and we're very open to continuing discussions with him."

Based on the recent reports out of San Diego, in particular, it sure feels momentum is building towards a plan B or C that end with Betts's departure.

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Multiple factors have led to this point.

The first is ownership's stated goal (NOT A MANDATE, STOP CALLING IT THAT!) to drop below the $208 million luxury tax threshold. The team's offseason of inactivity may have lulled us into thinking that John Henry and Co. had changed their minds, but all the reasons that desire made sense in September still apply now. Resetting their tax penalties will put the team in the best long-term position to build a winner, with or without Betts.

Then there's the shape of this offseason itself.

December hit us with a flurry of high-end activity, but virtually all of it was of the free agent variety, from Stephen Strasburg to Gerrit Cole to Anthony Rendon. Outside of former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber being dealt to the Rangers, most of December's 13 trades were relatively minor.

Monday's move of All-Star Starling Marte from Pittsburgh to Arizona suggests the start of a late trade season, since the recent signings of Nick Castellanos (Reds) and Josh Donaldson (Twins) means the free-agent market is pretty much dry. "The pace of this offseason has been unusual around the industry, in terms of when things evolved," allowed Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom recently.

Then there's the sign-stealing elephant in the room, which is the loss of manager Alex Cora and MLB's investigation into the 2018 champions, a dual catastrophe that leaves the Red Sox in danger of losing draft picks at precisely the moment when their thin farm system most needs them.

If Betts is their best avenue to acquiring young talent, and if the talks to extend him (Plan A) have convinced management that he's definitely hitting free agency, which means he's almost definitely gone, then it would be a dereliction of duty not to explore every possible avenue for maximizing his value.

After a quiet winter in that regard, rumors are suddenly percolating like steam-forced espresso. The Red Sox and Padres have reportedly progressed far enough to haggle over how much of Wil Myers' remaining $61 million the Red Sox will assume, with at least one young outfielder and pitcher joining him in return.

Meanwhile, San Diego's division rivals in Los Angeles loom with a potential second Boston bailout, especially if they're willing to take on both Betts ($27 million) and David Price ($32 million) and really clear the books for 2020, just as they did with Adrian Gonzalez and Co. in 2012.

That's two motivated buyers and one motivated seller potentially transitioning to Plan B. That sounds like a recipe for a deal, which means Red Sox fans should prepare to kiss their MVP right fielder goodbye.

Sometimes your primary plan just doesn't play out, so you move on to the next one.

Xander Bogaerts offers thoughts on Mookie Betts returning to Red Sox in 2021

Xander Bogaerts offers thoughts on Mookie Betts returning to Red Sox in 2021

The Boston Red Sox made a decision that made a lot of fans unhappy in early February. The team decided to trade Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with David Price in exchange for a package of three prospects.

Betts, the MLB's MVP back in 2018, is one of the top five players in the league. He hit .295 with 29 homers last year as the Red Sox lead-off hitter, so parting with him obviously stings.

But could the Red Sox try to bring him back in free agency next offseason? It's possible, and it's something that Xander Bogaerts thinks the team could attempt to do.

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“Hey, you know... probably, maybe in a year,” Bogaerts said of potentially getting Betts back in 2021, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com. “We’ll see how that goes. He knows what he means to us and we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

Of course, there's no guarantee that Betts will end up returning to Boston. He could opt to sign an extension with the Dodgers or he could simply sign with the team that offers him the most money. And given how far apart he and the Red Sox were in negotiations, Betts may simply be out of their preferred price range.

It's tough to prognosticate what will happen in a year. And Betts wasn't willing to give any context clues during his introductory press conference with the Dodgers.

But Bogaerts and the Sox will remain hopeful. And until then, Boston's shortstop had one message for his former teammate.

“Obviously, I wish him nothing but the best," Bogaerts said, per Cotillo. "One of the best teammates I’ve had. One of the best young players we had to wear the Red Sox uniform.

"He’s someone we’re going to miss a lot. It’s not easy to replace somebody like that on and off the field.”

Rob Manfred provides updated timeline for Red Sox sign-stealing investigation

Rob Manfred provides updated timeline for Red Sox sign-stealing investigation

With spring training now here for MLB clubs, the Boston Red Sox have one massive question hanging over their heads. What will be the result of the MLB's investigation into the team's alleged sign-stealing?

Well, on Sunday afternoon, the Sox got an update on when that may be coming thanks to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

Manfred has stated that the investigation will likely be wrapped up within the next two weeks, according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic.

It will be interesting to see who the MLB is re-interviewing and what impact that will have on the investigation. But the fact that some developments have "slowed down" the MLB doesn't seem to be good news for the Red Sox.

The sooner the Sox know the results of the investigation, the sooner they can move on from it. And that will be important with the regular season drawing nearer and nearer.