Red Sox

MLB Rumors: Mookie Betts, Red Sox had massive gap in 2019 contract talks

Red Sox

If you ask Lou Merloni, there's a reason the Boston Red Sox are actively looking to trade Mookie Betts before the season begins.

The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Betts settling on a one-year, $27 million contract with the outfielder earlier this month.

But that's after Boston failed on several occasions to sign Betts to a long-term contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2021.

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According to Merloni, the two sides weren't even close.

The former Red Sox infielder reported Tuesday on WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria" that Boston offered Betts a 10-year, $300 million contract extension following the 2018 season. Betts countered with 12 years and $420 million, according to Merloni, and the deal fell through.

That gap of $120 million marked the third consecutive offseason the Red Sox and Betts were off by roughly $100 million in contract negotiations, citing the eight-year, $200 million offer Betts rejected following the 2017 season and the five-year, $100 million deal he turned down after the 2016 season.

Merloni added he's unsure whether the Red Sox made another offer to Betts this offseason -- but the fact that they're discussing a Betts trade with the likes of the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers should answer that question.

"They can't get it done," Merloni said on WEEI. "They know they can't get it done. When you go to a guy for three years in a row and you're off by almost $100 million -- in one instance over $100 million -- they know they can't sign him."

 

The 12-year, $420 offer Betts reportedly seeks is in line with recent major league megadeals: Slightly south of Mike Trout's 12-year, $430 million behemoth but north of Bryce Harper's 13-year, $330 million deal.

Boston reportedly was unwilling to shell out that kind of cash for Betts -- and may lose the former American League MVP because of it.