Amid reports of rejected contract offers and failed extension talks, Mookie Betts was adamant: He enjoyed playing for -- and wanted to play for -- the Boston Red Sox.
Now that the Red Sox reportedly are shipping him and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a virtual salary dump, the superstar outfielder apparently is sticking to that messaging.
Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Rice said Wednesday on SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio he spoke to Betts shortly after his reported trade to Los Angeles.
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Here was Betts' reaction, per Rice:
Hall of Famer Jim Rice spoke to Mookie Betts last night.— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) February 5, 2020
Betts, according to Rice: "This is my home. I don't want to go anyplace else."@RedSox | #RedSox pic.twitter.com/ZUJeoCVrUt
I talked to him last night and he said, 'I'm going to tell you what I told you before: I wanted to stay. But it was a business deal.' And he said, 'I can't do anything about it. It was a business deal, and they chose to go that way and I have to accept it.'
Rice also said Betts had told him in the past he considers Boston "home," and that he "(doesn't) care what people have said or what they're talking about."
The Red Sox' fifth-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, Betts was a homegrown talent who blossomed into an American League MVP. But he and the Red Sox could never agree to a new contract past his initial rookie deal, as both sides reportedly were significantly off in extension negotiations over the past several seasons.
Betts is expected to command a massive deal in the $30-to-$40-million-per-year range when he becomes a free agent next offseason. He would have preferred that deal come from the Red Sox, it seems, but Boston ultimately saw differently, which is why the 27-year-old will be in Dodger blue in 2020.