Red Sox

Peter Gammons predicts huge drop for Mookie Betts' free-agent contract

Peter Gammons predicts huge drop for Mookie Betts' free-agent contract

So much for Mookie Betts becoming Major League Baseball's next $400 million man.

The former Boston Red Sox outfielder is set to hit unrestricted free agency after playing the 2020 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and many predicted he'd earn a massive new contract that could approach Mike Trout's record 12-year, $430 million deal.

But those predictions were all made before the coronavirus pandemic, which has delayed the start of the 2020 season and could significantly impact what Betts fetches in free agency.

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During an appearance Wednesday on 670 The Score's "Mully & Haugh Show," The Athletic's Peter Gammons suggested Betts will be "lucky" to earn a deal totaling $250 million in the current climate.

"There are few people that I like better in baseball than Mookie Betts. I thought he was going to make between $350 (million) to $400 million," Gammons said.

"He'd be lucky to get up to $250 (million) in free agency this coming winter if they play (this season). It's just the reality of economics. It's true in almost every business."

MLB teams already have lost significant revenue from almost two months of no games and no ticket sales. Players may have to take pay cuts if MLB can hold a shortened season, and teams likely will lose even more money if games are played in empty stadiums. That means fewer dollars to spend on top talents like Betts in free agency.

Betts losing upwards of $100 million in free agency would be a cruel twist of fate for the superstar outfielder, who reportedly turned down several contract extension offers from the Red Sox while banking on earning a lucrative payday this winter.

Betts was right to bet on himself, too: The 27-year-old is a four-time All-Star and 2018 American League MVP who appeared on track to become one of baseball's richest players.

But the coronavirus pandemic likely will derail Betts' goal, according to Gammons, who added it may be several years until we see teams dole out hefty deals.

"The game has no chance of being restored to where they want it to go until 2023," Gammons said.

WATCH: Alex Verdugo notches first home run with Red Sox

WATCH: Alex Verdugo notches first home run with Red Sox

Alex Verdugo tallied his first home run with the Boston Red Sox during Wednesday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Verdugo's homer was a two-run shot in the fourth inning off of Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough that gave Boston the lead.

Watch below:


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Verdugo was, of course, acquired in the blockbuster trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 24-year-old hit .294 with 12 homers in 106 games with L.A. last year.

With home run No. 1 out of the way, Red Sox fans will hope to see many more where that came from during Verdugo's tenure in Boston.

Incredible stat shows how historically awful Red Sox starting pitching has been

Incredible stat shows how historically awful Red Sox starting pitching has been

When the 2019 MLB season started, the defending World Series champion Red Sox boasted an impressive rotation.

Perennial Cy Young contender Chris Sale. Former Cy Young winners David Price and Rick Porcello. World Series hero Nathan Eovaldi. Eduardo Rodriguez, who would go on to win 19 games.

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But the 2020 Sox rotation is a far cry from that collection of talent. 

Instead, with Sale sidelined with Tommy John surgery, Price and Porcello on different teams, and Rodriguez out for the season with myocarditis, the Sox have been forced to rely on a flotsam and jetsam rotation that has been exposed as not MLB-worthy.

Through 11 games, the Red Sox have already used seven starting pitchers, and they've combined to allow a whopping 32 earned runs in 42.2 innings pitched, often putting the Sox in early deficits they've been unable to overcome. It all adds up to a 6.75 ERA, which isn't just bad; it's actually on pace to be the worst starting rotation in the last 120 years, according to Boston Sports Info.

Only Nathan Eovaldi with a 3.94 ERA in three starts and Austin Brice, who pitched one scoreless inning in his only start of the season as an opener, have ERAs below 5.00, while Josh Osich, Ryan Weber, Matt Hall and Zack Godley all have ERAs of 9-plus.

Pitcher ERA as starter
Austin Brice 0.00
Nathan Eovaldi 3.94
Martin Perez 5.06
Josh Osich 9.00
Matt Hall 10.13
Ryan Weber 11.57
Zack Godley 13.50

And with the supposedly strong Boston offense underachieving through 11 games, it's no wonder the team is off to a horrific 3-8 start, the 28th best record out of 30 MLB teams. If that starting pitching doesn't turn around — and turn around quickly — the Red Sox are in danger of digging a hole that will be too deep to climb out of in a shortened 60-game season.