Just in case there was any doubt, Mookie Betts made it abundantly clear in 2018 that he can be a franchise player.

The Red Sox outfielder almost certainly will be in the running for MVP once the season ends after doing it all for Boston both in the field and with his bat this campaign.

Betts still has two more years of arbitration before becoming an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season. But in recent years he’s cemented himself as the face of the franchise, so the Red Sox ideally will be able to re-sign him. That will come at a pretty high cost, though, as the 26-year-old is sure to fetch a massive contract in free agency.

In an interview with The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy talked about Betts‘ free agency, and the team’s approach to it.

“There’s nothing more important in baseball operations than drafting really, really well, developing well, and then hopefully retaining some players who you draft and develop as superstars,” Kennedy said. “To that end, John Henry, Tom Werner, Dave Dombrowksi, yours truly have made it crystal clear to Mookie that specifically we hope he is a member of the Boston Red Sox for his career. We want nothing more than that.

“We also understand he has to survey the landscape and both sides need to agree that a fair outcome is doable. I hope that is the case. There couldn’t be a better representative of the Boston Red Sox. On the field speaks for itself, but off the field, he’s such a wonderful guy, such a great leader. He represents everything we want. But we also recognize it will be a difficult discussion at some point just given that you want to have a whole team. So, we’ll see when we get there, but we’re going to do everything in our power to keep him.”

In an era where few players stay with the same team for their entire career, Betts wearing Red Sox across his chest wire to wire would be fairly unprecedented. However, it does still happen, and he is the exact type of player that’s worth keeping around at all costs.

Thumbnail photo via Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports