Mookie Betts receives a standing ovation in exchange for Boston at the Dodgers-Red Sox

Three and a half years ago, the Boston Red Sox made one of the most questionable trades in franchise history, sending Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. On Friday, Betts returned to Boston for the first time since trading, with a bunch of what-ifs the size of a Green Monster in tow.

In his time since joining the Dodgers, Betts has earned three All-Star nominations, two Silver Sluggers, two Gold Gloves, 20.9 baseball reference WAR and, of course, a second World Series ring during Boston’s return of the month looked worse to month .

Despite the controversy surrounding his departure, Betts saw a positive reaction when he competed at Fenway Park on Friday. There were definitely a few boos, yes, but Red Sox fans overall seemed to be treating him like the star the team was trading away, rather than one who supposedly wanted out.

Betts was fouled to end the attack.

Half an inning later, Alex Verdugo, the most notable player the Red Sox got for Betts, contributed to the game with a home run on the first pitch.

Before the game, Betts spoke diplomatically to reporters about his time in Boston and his departure, but during talks with Red Sox general manager Chaim Bloom and Red Sox owner John Henry, he also dismissed the idea that he was in it was interested in leaving Boston.

Over NBC Sports Boston:

“I’ll let Chaim and these guys explain, or John Henry, whoever. … If they ever want to explain, I’ll let them explain. I don’t throw anyone under the bus or anything, but yeah, in the beginning I didn’t want the fans to think – they still do, it is what it is – but to think that I didn’t want to be here and that he was a few years before I was actually traded or whatever. I don’t know where the story came from or how it came about. If that’s why you guys sleep at night, cool, but that’s nowhere near where I was mentally.

I thought I’d be here, but the negotiations didn’t go the way we planned, so just turn around. It was a very, very cool chapter in my life, but the chapter I’m in now is so much fun and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

At least one Red Sox reporter was pessimistic that Henry would ever put forward his side of the negotiations.

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 25: Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers smiles at former teammates before the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on August 25, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Mookie Betts returned to Fenway Park on Friday. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

The Betts trade preceded failed negotiations for a contract extension that the Red Sox were in the middle of reported offered him a 10-year, $300 million contract. Later that year, Betts signed a 12-year, $365 million contract extension with the Dodgers before ever playing a game for them.

If you squint closely enough, you might be able to convince yourself that this is the story of another athlete leaving town to make more money, but it was Boston’s decision, the heart of its 2018 World Series team swapping away rather than paying for him potentially staying on for the next championship team. The team had recently hired Bloom as chief baseball officer with an apparent mandate to cut payroll after he topped MLB’s payroll last season.

However, there didn’t seem to be any hard feelings, like Betts hugged Bloom when they met. Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he expected it Bet to receive a warm welcome from the fans and recalled how Betts stood by his side as he was suspended for the 2020 season.

When asked if he would recommend playing in BostonBetts made it very clear that he enjoyed playing for the Red Sox, pointing out that there is tremendous pressure to perform there, which has made him a star:

“Yes, I would definitely recommend it. It’s a super fun place to play. I had the best time of my life playing here. I think a lot of people feel that way. I would tell them, ‘If you go up there, you know.’ You have to play well.’ There is nothing else. You have to get up there and play well. I think that’s why I played well because I knew every day I put the jersey on that you have to play well no matter what happens or the media, the fans “People will let you know. That’s the blessing, that’s the good thing about it.”

The Red Sox appeared to have good value for Betts at the time of the trade by taking on promising young outfielder Alex Verdugo, Top 100 contender Jeter Downs and youngster Connor Wong, but the group’s shine has since faded. Downs was called up after last season, while Verdugo has played like an overall decent right starter but falls far short of what Betts has done.

It’s rare for teams to trade away future Hall of Famers in their prime, and for good reason, but the Red Sox were either reluctant to pay Betts what turned out to be his market value or confident enough that they could get fair value could achieve for him. A few years later, the decision looks even worse, as his reception on Friday suggested some fans still believe Betts was involved in his own departure.

But Red Sox fans at least held their own against expectations on his return.

Snopx is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button