BOSTON (CBS) — Bryce Harper is locked up long term. Mike Trout is, too.
That scenario leaves Mookie Betts as the best player in baseball without a long-term deal, and the frameworks of the contract for those superstars does seem to lay a bit of a road map for what Betts should expect when he does finally put pen to paper on a big-money contract.
Alas, despite the market being somewhat set, Betts said Wednesday that he has no plans to sign a deal before hitting free agency following the 2020 season.
Alex Speier and Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe shared Betts’ comments, with the most noteworthy line being this one: “I don’t expect anything to happen till I’m a free agent.”
Betts, 26, remains under Red Sox control through the 2019 and 2020 seasons, at which point he’ll be set to hit the free-agent market as a 28-year-old. That would make his case a bit different from Harper, who signed his mega-deal at 26, and Trout, who is 27 and just lopped off the final two years of his current deal in order to sign a massive extension.
Betts may not be exactly at Trout’s level, but he’s about as close as anyone in baseball can get. He owns a .303 career batting average and an .888 OPS over the course of his four-plus seasons in the big leagues. He was named American League MVP in 2018, after finishing second (to Trout) in 2016 and sixth in 2017. He now has a World Series title on his resume, as well as two Silver Sluggers, three straight Gold Gloves, a batting title, and three All-Star appearances. He became the only player in American League history to win the MVP, a World Series, a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger in the same season.
Clearly, signing Betts for his age 28 through age 36 seasons will cost a team a pretty penny. For now, Betts is apparently not overly eager to try to lock in that guaranteed money until he hits free agency.