Will the new Boston Red Sox brass meet their own needs and those of Mookie Betts?
ESPN’s Joon Lee on Thursday asked whether the Red Sox will be able to sign the star right fielder to a contract extension, trim payroll and compete for the World Series in the coming weeks and months. Lee cites this is the biggest question Boston faces this offseason and concludes newly installed chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and his staff will have to be creative in order to answer it in a way that benefits the Red Sox in 2020 and beyond.
“How will a new front office balance Mookie Betts and the budget?”Lee asked.
“Boston enters the offseason with a new chief baseball officer in Chaim Bloom and an offseason already filled to the brim with rumors about what the team will do with superstar Mookie Betts as he enters his contract year — but the questions don’t stop there,” Lee wrote. “Bloom faces the challenge of getting the team’s payroll under the luxury tax threshold — balancing big-time salaries, from Betts to designated hitter J.D. Martinez to starters Chris Sale, David Price and Nathan Eovaldi — while a World Series-worthy roster remains the goal.
“Bloom’s decisions over the next few months will not only shape Boston’s direction for next year, but for the foreseeable future. If Boston hopes to keep both Betts and Martinez for 2020, the organization will likely need to trade some of its bigger contract commitments, requiring the creativity that made Bloom a rising front-office star with the Rays.”
Betts has insisted for some time he wants to test free agency, where he might net a contract worth upwards of $35 million-plus annually. Signing a new contract or potentially earning around $30 million in his final year of arbitration will make Boston’s task of cutting payroll more difficult.
As Lee points out, Betts’ contract situation is one of many factors that will determine how the Red Sox approach the offseason. Upgrading the pitching staff is another major task Bloom and Co. must undertake in order to improve the team’s prospects as the MLB GM Meetings wind down and the Hot Stove temperature increases.
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