By Dan Roche

BOSTON (CBS) — Question: Do you think the Red Sox can win the 2020 World Series as presently constituted?

If your answer is yes, then I completely understand the idea of hanging on to Mookie Betts. Why not? It’s not an easy thing to do – any year. Betts can lead the way.

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If your answer is no, then unfortunately it’s time to say goodbye to the 2018 AL MVP.

I love everything about Mookie Betts. His speed. His power. His defense. His athleticism. Plus the fact that he’s a great teammate, and is never in trouble.

But with Lou Merloni reporting that the Red Sox and Mookie were over $100 million apart last year – and that Betts wants to become a free agent – then Boston should trade him. Obviously, the Red Sox are a much better team with Betts no matter what they get in return. But, there are several reasons why dealing their star player right now makes sense.

– I have a hard time believing the two sides can find a compromise somewhere within that $100 million gap. You don’t split that in the middle, right? $50 million? Obviously the two sides have different beliefs in his long-term value/price.

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– Mookie has never made us feel like he wanted to be a Red Sox for life, which is what this next deal will basically do. I believe he had a tough time playing here initially. Lots of things to get used to. But, he told me last spring that he’s learned to play here and that he feeds off the Fenway crowd and all the energy/intensity that it brings. If Boston matched or came close to his demands, I could see him staying. But a 12-year, $420 million carries a ton of risk.

– Losing Alex Cora is a big blow. He and Betts had a good relationship and I believe Cora was perfect for him. Saw things when he was slumping, was good for his psyche, etc.

– The Red Sox really need to get under the $208 million luxury tax. Alex Speier laid out exactly what happens if the Sox doesn’t get under the threshold THIS year and, yes folks, you’ll see what I mean. They have to. This is a way to do it.

– If they make a deal with Los Angeles or San Diego they would get some players and prospects in return. We won’t know for a bit just how good or bad a return it would be, but it’s something. Yes, you could wait until the trade deadline and possibly get more, but you’d have to find other ways to get under the luxury tax.

Believe me, I have been a huge fan of Mookie from day one. I love to watch him play. He affects the game in so many ways. But, it feels like the timing is right to part ways, especially if those within the walls of the Fenway offices feel like there’s zero shot of him re-signing. Chaim Bloom can have a reset and can move forward in his first year in charge.

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It’s time to Bloom to make his first major move.