BOSTON (CBS) — If it feels like a lifetime has passed since the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Dodgers, that’s because a few things have happened since then. That whole coronavirus pandemic was a pretty big one. The Dodgers winning a World Series in year one with Mookie was another.

So while life has moved on since that February 2020 trade, it might come back to the surface a bit now, thanks to a GQ profile on Betts. While conventional wisdom has led to most folks in Boston settling on the reality that Betts was never going to sign a long-term contract with Boston and thus had to be traded, Betts said that’s not true.

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“Betts thought he’d be with the Sox for life, and says he loved his time there — he and [wife] Bri had begun looking at new houses before the trade,” Sam Schube wrote in GQ.

Schube did note that Betts was determined to make it to free agency, “where he’d be able to earn something closer to his true market value.”

Schube wrote that Betts “just as soon would have re-signed in Boston, he says — but only if they made the right offer.”

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Instead of making that full-value contract offer, the Red Sox traded Betts to Los Angeles along with David Price in exchange for Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong. (The initial deal had Brusdar Graterol going to Boston instead of Downs and Wong.)

Betts signed a 12-year, $365 million contract with the Dodgers shortly thereafter.

“I don’t care if you’re working at Waffle House or for the Red Sox or for the Dodgers. You should just get paid what you’re worth,” Betts said. “[The Red Sox] didn’t owe me anything. I didn’t owe them anything. The city didn’t owe me anything. I didn’t owe the city anything. We did what we were supposed to do. And at that point, it’s a business.”

It’s possible — and arguably a reasonable conclusion — that the Red Sox had no interest in dedicating $365 million over 12 years to any one player, even one of Betts’ caliber. After getting six years of service — including an MVP season and a World Series title — for under $33 million, the Red Sox felt it was time to move on.

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According to Betts, though, it didn’t have to end. He just needed $365 million or so to keep things going.

CBSBoston.com Staff