Mookie Betts reportedly is close to getting paid, and the Boston Red Sox won't be writing his checks.
Betts is nearing a massive contract extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers that could pay him between $350 and $400 million over 10-plus years, according to NBC Sports Boston and WEEI's Lou Merloni. (Update: ESPN's Jeff Passan reports Betts has agreed to a 12-year, $365 million extension.)
That'd be a tough pill to swallow for Red Sox fans after the superstar outfielder turned down a reported $300 million offer from Boston prior to the 2019 season. So, why would Betts decline to re-up with his hometown team only to potentially land a similar deal from a club on another coast?
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Former Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis joined The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday to offer his insight into why L.A. may appeal to Betts.
"Two years back, he was offered a very lucrative deal, somewhere (near) that number," Youkilis said. " ... He was offered a long-term deal (by the Red Sox) that had very high value to him, and I think he was going to take his chances (in free agency).
"Now, he might be taking a step back knowing that there's probably not a lot of suitors that can do that. And what better than to go with the Dodgers, who have tons of money and, let's be honest, even if you didn't get that number you hit, you can make that money off the field in Hollywood any day of the week."
Betts reportedly countered Boston's $300 million offer with a 12-year, $420 million proposal, which in a pre-COVID world may have been a possibility for the 2018 American League MVP. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every team's bottom line, however, and Youkilis believes Betts could have been wary of testing free agency in 2021 knowing he may have to take a pay cut.
Youkilis raises another good point: Los Angeles is one of the best places for Betts to get paid. In addition to being the second-most valuable team in baseball (per Forbes), the Dodgers also play in a market where the 27-year-old can be a star and earn considerable cash in endorsement deals.
Betts won't exactly be selling his soul to play for a bottom-dweller, either: The Dodgers have reached two of the last three World Series and are the current favorite to win the 2020 championship.
The Red Sox perhaps could have raised their offer to Betts, but if the four-time All-Star wants to truly maximize his on-field success and off-field worth, it's hard to find a better fit than L.A.