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Greenwood: Red Sox’ best bet: Don’t overpay for Mookie

Alan Greenwood

While Major League Baseball is among the most inward-looking islands on the planet, the rest of the world does occasionally make its mark.

Even the business of baseball, which so often seems a fantasy compared to real-world slogging from paycheck to paycheck, is susceptible economic change. Of course, slogging for a ballplayer is struggling along without a player option at the end of his deal, and slogging for a ballclub is measured against profits measured in millions.

In the case of clubs like, let’s say, the Red Sox, make that tens of millions.

But there are ebbs and flows, and so it is that the Red Sox are looking to keep their payroll at a (comparatively) reasonable $208 million next season, the limit before a payroll tax kicks in.

So now comes Mookie Betts, whose salary next season is $27.7 million. Apparently he also has incentives or some sort of bonuses that could bring that to $30 million. Since J.D. Martinez has decided to come back and take his $23.75 million off the table, that’s $50 million for two players.

Careful financial analysis will show that $50 million is a humongous chunk out of $208 million.

The complicating factor, of course, is that Betts is a free agent after the 2020 season and wants to take his assets to the open market. Betts established himself as a gold-plated celebrity star in 2018, and that comes with a guarantee not to tarnish until long after he is offered too much money next winter.

And Betts will be overpaid. It has been speculated that he’ll draw Mike Trout-like compensation of $49 million annually, for a decade of service.

He isn’t worth that much because he is not as good a ballplayer as Trout. He is not, as some folks gush, the second coming of Willie Mays.

Betts is very talented, an outstanding outfielder and a extraordinarily versatile offensive ballplayer. He is not worth nearly a quarter of the payroll the Red Sox have set as their goal.

The Red Sox should stop the non-stop conversation that will haunt them all next season, get what they can for him and move on.

TIME TRAVEL: Nov. 21, 1984 – “When Nashua and Everett postponed their Nov. 7 meeting and scheduled it for this afternoon, they also postponed the final home appearances of some dozen seniors. It is taking place at Holman Stadium this

afternoon.

“One senior, however, has already closed out his schoolboy grid career due to a complicated shin injury that is acting up. Doctors have advised Bruce Gilbert against finishing out the remaining two games. The Nashua co-captain and starting right tackle is being replaced by Philip Jepson, who heretofore had been operating on defense.”

Nashua gained a 14-14 tie against Everett in the closing 30 seconds. Carl Tamulevich recovered a fumble, leading to the touchdown, then passed to Dave Melon for the two-point conversion.

Contact Alan Greenwood at 594-1248 or agreenwood@nashuatelegraph.com.