The Boston Red Sox explored the possibility of locking up Mookie Betts to a long-term deal this winter, following his second-place finish in the MVP voting to Mike Trout, according to sources.
However, Betts, like almost all young superstars who are position players these days, decided he’s comfortable going year to year at that time.
He always has the ability to change his mind, of course, as Boston will surely remain receptive to locking up a player of such ability. But, like most young superstars (Kris Bryant and Francisco Lindor among them), Betts appears to be in no hurry.
He finished second to Mike Trout in MVP voting last year, when he hit 31 home runs, had 113 RBIs and hit .318 while leading the league with 359 totals bases. By most accounts he played the best right field in baseball.
He’s raking again this year. He finished a triple shy of the cycle on Wednesday, settling for two home runs, a double and a single. His performance raised his average to .280 with a .360 OBP and .860 OPS. He has 11 homers and 11 stolen bases on the season.
The Red Sox paid him fairly, $950,000, after his MVP-caliber season, even though they were under no obligation to pay him much above the major-league minimum salary. But the long deal will have to wait.
Similarly, Xander Bogaerts prefers to go year-to-year for now. That seems to be the trend among young star position players, and part of the reason is that going year-to-year carries little risk for them.