Mookie Betts intends to take a very calculated approach to his future in Major League Baseball.
The Red Sox outfielder can become a free agent after the 2020 season, raising questions about how much longer he’ll remain in Boston. Betts has been consistent in his responses to this point, making it clear he enjoys his current organization but ultimately will do what’s best from a business perspective.
“It’s how I was raised to look at the thing,” Betts told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford on Wednesday before the Red Sox faced the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. “As a whole, when it comes to business in general, whether it’s buying a building or contract negotiations or whatever it is, you have to take emotions out of it. That’s what people forget. Fans and media get caught up in emotions, and that’s just not how I was raised and that’s just not what my point of view with my agents is. We take emotions out of it and we focus on the business part. Of course, I love it here. This is all I know. But you also have to take that emotional side out of it and get to what is actually real.”
Betts, who turns 27 in October, has established himself as one of the best players in baseball. His résumé includes four All-Star selections, three Gold Glove Awards, two Silver Slugger Awards, an MVP Award and a World Series title. It’s fair to assume he’ll land a huge contract — perhaps in excess of $300 million — on the open market, and the former fifth-round pick refuses to be swayed by whatever strong feelings might crop up, for better or worse.
“Even when I was younger. My mom and dad always told me to not act on emotion, act on what is real,” Betts said, per Bradford. “When you’re mad, don’t do something wrong because you’re mad. If you’re going to do something bad, that’s because that is what the situation called for. It’s anything, not just this situation. You take emotions out of it and focus on what is real.”
Betts is making $20 million in 2019 after earning $10.5 million in 2018, his first year of arbitration eligibility. He’ll earn even more money in 2020, regardless of whether he signs a contract extension this offseason, and it’ll be interesting to see how the Red Sox proceed knowing Betts’ unwavering stance on free agency.