NESN Diary: Mookie Betts Isn’t Playing ‘What If?’ (And Other Random Thoughts)


July 7, 2020

Each day during the sports pause stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, will publish a diary full of random thoughts, opinions, takeaways and other cool tidbits we?ve stumbled across in the absence of actual games. Because why not? We?re all in this together.

If you told me in February that Mookie Betts being traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers wouldn’t be the biggest story in 2020, I probably would have called you a liar.

Well, here we are on July 7 and so much more has happened.

Tom Brady left the Patriots. Rob Gronkowski un-retired, requested a trade and was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to play alongside Brady. Chris Sale underwent Tommy John surgery. Oh yeah, the United States is dealing with a global pandemic that halted sports across the country.

I know I’m missing quite a bit, but you get the point.

When Betts was traded, I really thought, “It’s only February, but how much worse could this year get?”

Apparently, 2020 took that as a challenge.

Anyway, Betts revealed that he didn’t regret turning down an offer from the Red Sox when it presented itself. Betts wanted to test the market — that never was a secret — and it appeared he was going to a strong National League team where he could put together a solid 2020 campaign and sign a long-term deal once the season ended.

Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, it’s unclear just how Major League Baseball free agency will look come the end of this season. At one point, it looked as if the All-Star outfielder would reach the free-agent market without even playing a game for Los Angeles.

Could you imagine?

It’s easy to sit back and say, “Betts probably wishes he stayed in Boston,” or “bet he wished he signed that offer now!” or something along those lines.

More: NHLPA Executive Board Approves Tentative CBA, Will Vote Over 48 Hours

But at the end of the day, Betts took a gamble on himself. Maybe he wanted Bryce Harper, Mike Trout or Manny Machado-type money. Can you blame him? We’re always told to believe in ourselves, bet on ourselves, etc. And that’s exactly what Betts did.

No, he won’t get a full 162-game season in a contract year, but he would have had the same amount of games in a Sox uniform that he’ll have in a Dodgers uniform if he wasn’t traded. And he still likely will be sought after. He’s a four-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner, three-time Silver Slugger, 2018 MVP and World Series champion. Betts also is only 27, he’s still got plenty of baseball left in him.

No one could have predicted six months ago that we’d be in a pandemic that would halt the start of the 2020 MLB season and throw everything for a loop. But here we are, and we all need to work with what we’ve got — including Betts.

There’s no telling what kind of numbers he’ll put up this season, but we’re sure plenty of eyes will be on him for those 60 games as he looks to sign a long-term deal in 2021.

I’m sure this conversation will be revisited once he signs said deal. But what it comes down to is this: Betts isn’t playing the “what if?” game. And neither should we.

Let’s see what else happened Tuesday:

— We finally have our answers about what’s going with Eduardo Rodriguez.

Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke revealed Tuesday the southpaw tested positive for coronavirus. Rodriguez had yet to join his team in Boston and remains in Florida while he recovers.

— Kyrie Irving will produce a TV special to help bring attention to Breonna Taylor’s case.

Taylor was killed in her Louisville, K.Y. home while she slept by police. Only one of the four officers involved has been fired.

— The NHL reportedly is thinking about holding three games per day in each hub city once the Stanley Cup playoffs begin.

Around-the-clock hockey? Sign. Me. Up.

— Sometimes Twitter is a wonderful place.

Like when people absolutely roasted a Buffalo newspaper when it tweeted out for us not to expect Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s next contract to look anything like the 10-year deal reportedly worth $503 million deal Patrick Mahomes agreed to with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Um, correct me if I’m wrong. But I don’t think anyone, even Allen, was thinking he’d get that kind of deal.

— Rex Burkhead reportedly agreed to restructure his deal with the New England Patriots on Tuesday.

And it appears his chances to remain with the team got a bit better.

— No one would have blamed Brock Holt for opting out of the 2020 MLB season, especially considering his wife, Lakyn, is pregnant and due in September.

But that’s not the case.

Holt said if he didn’t play, he would have felt his baseball career is over. The utility man signed a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers in the offseason, so it certainly makes sense he wants job and financial security. Especially with baby No. 2 on the way.

Tweet Of The Day
Say it ain’t so 🙁

Stat Of The Day
A year already? Wow.

Video Of The Day
I could watch this all day.

More: Celtics? Jayson Tatum Feels It Would Have Been ?Insensitive? To Opt Out Over Finances

Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images
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