Mookie Betts and the Boston Red Sox couldn't find common ground in contract negotiations last winter. But apparently there was no acrimony between the two sides as they parted ways.
Betts joined The Ringer's R2C2 podcast with CC Sabathia and Ryan Ruocco to discuss Boston trading him to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February in a blockbuster deal.
The interview is worth a full listen, but the 27-year-old offered some interesting insights into how the deal went down -- including that the Padres were his only other serious suitors aside from the Dodgers.
"It went down to San Diego and here," Betts said. "The only thing that really sucks is taxes. That's really it. It was just these two teams."
California indeed has the highest state income tax in the country, meaning Betts will have to give up over 10% of his 12-year, $365 million contract.
The 2018 American League MVP reportedly turned down a $300 million contract to stay in Boston, after which he said the Red Sox were open with him about setting up a trade.
"It was a cool process, actually," Betts said. "It seemed like everybody was all on the same page. The Red Sox front office did a great job in talking through everything. It wasn't just like, 'Boom, trade' on Twitter. They talked and said, 'Hey, if something makes sense, we'll pull the trigger.' "
The Sox pulled that trigger on Feb. 10, sending Betts and pitcher David Price to Los Angeles for Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong.
Despite the fact that Betts had spent his entire professional career with the Red Sox, the seven-year veteran admitted moving on from Boston wasn't that painful -- especially since the trade happened in the offseason.
"It wasn't that bad. I thought it was going to be way worse," Betts said. I was actually hitting when the trigger was finally pulled, and I thought it was going to hurt.
"It didn't hurt initially, but I think a couple days later it was kind of sad a little bit, because we were getting ready to go to Florida (for Red Sox spring training), and then our s---'s out in AZ.
" ... I was at home and I didn't have to say bye to so many people. It would have been literally everybody. And so, I guess it's kind of fair that I got to say bye to nobody, really."
Betts seems to be enjoying life with his new team: He's hitting .301 with a .960 OPS for the best team in baseball, while his former club is stuck in the American League East's cellar.