The Red Sox have not yet engaged in contract talks with Mookie Betts this offseason, team president and CEO Sam Kennedy said Wednesday.
“I’m sure we’ll have conversations at the appropriate time,” Kennedy said.
That news isn’t much of a surprise, as the Sox just hired new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom less than 10 days ago and have just started their offseason planning. Betts is entering his final year under team control and is scheduled to hit free agency after the season. The Red Sox have made previous offers to the reigning American League MVP but have been rebuffed in their efforts to lock him up to a long-term deal.
Betts’ name has been frequently mentioned in trade rumors in recent months due to Boston’s goal to cut payroll to get under the $208 million competitive balance tax threshold in 2020. His future with the Sox became even murkier Monday, when slugger J.D. Martinez opted into his $23.75 million salary and made Boston’s wallet strings even tighter.
Betts is projected to earn $27.7 million in arbitration, according to MLBTradeRumors, but would likely draw strong interest from contending teams looking to make a splash. At this point, the Red Sox are still hopeful of getting a deal done before having to seriously consider trading the four-time All-Star.
“We love Mookie Betts,” Kennedy said. “He’s such a special player and such a special person. We’ll continue to have conversations with him. He’s under club control and we’ll see what happens this offseason. We’ve engaged in discussions with him and his representatives in the past and we’ll continue to engage with them. We’ll see where it all takes us.”