Red Sox

Red Sox legend David Ortiz gives his take on Mookie Betts trade with Dodgers

Red Sox legend David Ortiz gives his take on Mookie Betts trade with Dodgers

The realities of baseball can be harsh, and Boston Red Sox fans have found that out firsthand this offseason.

The Red Sox traded their best player, Mookie Betts, and starting pitcher David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for three young players earlier this month. Betts is entering the final year of his contract, and he's expected to land one of the richest deals in MLB history when his next one is signed. Losing Betts for nothing in free agency didn't make sense for the Red Sox, and they decided to get in front of that scenario by moving him prior to the 2020 season.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

Red Sox legend David Ortiz spoke to reporters at the team's spring training facility Thursday and gave his thoughts on the Betts trade. 

“Unfortunately, this game, it’s not just a game. It’s business,” Ortiz said. “Mookie’s situation, it’s hard to give up someone like him, someone like David Price. What they bring to the table, it’s more than enough. On the business side, we also know that Mookie is going to be a guy that’s going to get a deal close to what Mike Trout has. I’m pretty sure that’s going to happen at some point. I guess that’s the difference between having him here and having him going to L.A.

"We all understand that. I know fans are hurting a little bit because you let a franchise player go somewhere else, but that’s the tricky part about baseball. You fall in love with players, and the business side of it sometimes doesn’t allow the team to keep up with them, and it’s always that one time where you have to say goodbye like the conversations with Mookie and David Price. But it’s guys who did what they were supposed to do when they were here, and the fans are always going to appreciate that, and us in our conversation are always going appreciate the same, it’s going to be the same way. Always wishing them the best, and it don’t stop the train.”

Ortiz understands that players must do what's best for them and their family. One part of that process is maximizing your value because massive contracts like the one Betts is expected to sign as a free agent don't come around too often.

“Sometimes, people think that as a player we get greedy when it comes down to contracts,” Ortiz said. “But it only goes around once. It doesn’t go around twice. It goes around once and you’ve got to get what you have earned, because nobody gives you anything in this game. You’ve got to earn it. Mookie has earned every single dollar that he’s going to get. If I’m him, I’m not going to leave $50 (million), $60 (million), $70 million on the table out there just because, you know what I’m saying? It is what it is.

"We had a good offer for him, but I understand that he somewhere else was going to get more. I think the Red Sox’ decision with him was perfect, because you’re just not going to let a great player go after the season. Before the season even begins you try to get something in exchange that you can have for a long period of time. For both sides, I think it was really good. Plus, we all know that we are trying to reduce payroll. It’s just something that it wasn’t surprising. I wasn't expecting it this early, but I knew something was going to happen. It happened early enough. Like I said, this business, it is what it is.”

Tomase: Why trading for Wil Myers would make sense for Sox

Who are the best catchers in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best catchers in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

For a position so essential to baseball — no player handles the ball more often — the catching ranks in Red Sox history are surprisingly shallow.

Multiple seasons belong to players like Johnny Peacock, Pinch Thomas, Hick Cady, Roxy Walters, and Muddy Ruel, names that sound like they should belong to bouncers before big leaguers.

The dearth of catching talent may partly explain why the Red Sox routinely featured lousy starting rotations, at least until Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, and Co. arrived to give the club perennial Cy Young contenders no matter who squatted behind the plate.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

Had this list extended to 10 instead of five, some of the names would surprise you. Wally Schang, anyone? How about Bill Carrigan? There'd definitely be room for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Anyway, the overall talent level may be thin, but the top five are legit, with three All-Stars and two Hall of Famers.

Click here for the top five catchers in Red Sox history.

Dave Roberts says former Red Sox Mookie Betts 'loves' being a Dodger

Dave Roberts says former Red Sox Mookie Betts 'loves' being a Dodger

Are Dave Roberts' latest comments about Mookie Betts just wishful thinking or reality?

The Los Angeles Dodgers manager said some interesting things about his new right fielder on ESPN's "The Sedano Show" Monday, including that he knows how Betts feels about being in Dodger blue.

I think him being in spring training with us — the relationship I have with him personally, and I think some players too, and coaches — it feels like he’s already played a season with us, which is strange. … Mookie’s gotta do what’s best for him and his family once that time does present itself, but I know that he loves being a Dodger.

After just eight spring training games, Betts "loves" being a Dodger? It seems like a stretch, but maybe getting out of Boston was that much of a relief for the 27-year-old.

Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App

With the 2020 season on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak, it's possible we never see Betts play a regular-season game for the Dodgers. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association agreed on a settlement that would let all pending free agents hit the open market if the coming season is canceled.

Betts, the 2018 American League MVP and World Series champion, likely will test free agency come 2021, and the Dodgers will have to pay a hefty price to keep him in L.A. 

If Dodgers ownership and team president Andrew Friedman decide to shell out the cash, then Betts will probably "love" being a Dodger even more.