Boston Red Sox principal owner John Henry tried to get ahead of the criticism Monday by reading a prepared statement about the team's decision to trade Mookie Betts.
Instead, he opened the door for more criticism.
Here's Henry's full statement:
Here's what Henry is taking heat for: After empathizing with Red Sox fans who feel "disbelieving or angry or sad" about Boston trading away its 27-year-old superstar, Henry compared this situation to the team's trade of All-Star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra at the 2004 trade deadline.
"Some of you no doubt felt the same way in 2004 when we traded Nomar, who like Mookie was a hugely popular, homegrown player," Henry said. "All of us in the organization hoped we could avoid ever having to go through something like that again. But most clubs face similar dilemmas from time to time."
Henry added that Boston lost several star players -- specifically Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez, Jacoby Ellsbury and Manny Ramirez -- while winning four World Series titles over the last 20 years. Red Sox chairman Tom Werner also referenced the Garciaparra trade in Monday's press conference from Fort Myers, noting the team has "been in this situation before."
... But was it really the same situation?
Garciaparra was entering his ninth MLB season in 2004 and already had dealt with several serious injuries. He didn't make his 2004 debut until June 9 due to an Achilles injury and turned 31 just before the deadline.
Yes, Garciaparra was a highly popular player on the final year of his contract. But Betts showed virtually no signs of wear and tear through six seasons with the Red Sox and is very much in his prime. (He's the current favorite to win National League MVP.)
Critics were quick to call out the Red Sox on Twitter for shoehorning Nomar into the Betts trade discussion.
Nomar? How could these guys be in Boston for almost 20 years and still not get it? It’s not about who you got back, moving Price, CBT...it’s about feeling like it’s the 90s again when everyone in the city assumed the Sox would do the dumb thing. Yankees would never do this. https://t.co/Hnf5vX0ynv— Russillo (@ryenarussillo) February 17, 2020
Nomar stats before his trade: 5 HR, 21 RBIs, .867 OPS (missed first 2 months of season due to injury)— Brian Robb (@BrianTRobb) February 17, 2020
Mookie stats before his trade: 29 HR, 80 RBIs, .915 OPS, Gold Glove, 8th MVP voting https://t.co/dubsLIJT6V
Henry compares this trade to having to deal Nomar in 2004. There is a difference, though. Mookie is smack in the middle of his prime and has never been injured.— Ian Browne (@IanMBrowne) February 17, 2020
Henry, Werner and Kennedy all compared trading Betts to trading Garciaparra in 2004.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) February 17, 2020
That was a reach. Nomar was 30, wasn't one of top 5 players in the game at that point and had clearly soured on Boston.
Yep. And the last significant memory we have of Nomar is sitting out against the Yankees. The last memory we have of Mookie is busting his ass to score from first on a single to win the meaningless last game of the season. https://t.co/yxHmT1o4ZN https://t.co/FrBzrYGMp2— Chad Finn (@GlobeChadFinn) February 17, 2020
I see what he’s doing here but c’mon now. Nomar was traded when he was 31 and could barely move after his Achilles injury. This ain’t Mookie https://t.co/u7GJoOc1GT— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) February 17, 2020
You get the idea.
The Red Sox went on to win the World Series in 2004 after trading Garciaparra in return for Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz.
The 2020 Red Sox? Don't expect them to compete for a World Series title after they traded their best player (and a key member of their rotation in David Price) from a team that won 84 games last season.