SAN DIEGO — Trading Mookie Betts doesn’t appear to be at the top of the Red Sox’ wish list.
According to an executive of a club that has harbored longstanding interest in acquiring Betts, the Red Sox hadn’t given any indication of Betts’ availability to that team as of Monday night. Instead, the Sox have shown greater willingness to explore the market for other players on their roster, including starting pitchers.
That said, as the market surges for top-end players such as Stephen Strasburg (seven years, $245 million) and Gerrit Cole (nine years, $324 million), Betts is viewed as likely to command a record-setting bonanza in the likely event that he reaches the open market.
Even as Betts has shown every sign of exploring that market, however, his potential contributions in 2020 continue to be valued highly by the Sox. Given his potential impact, the Sox seem to prefer to see if another player or players can be moved as opposed to prioritizing a trade of the 2018 A.L. MVP.
Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Monday that he “wouldn’t handicap” the likelihood of the Red Sox trading one of their more expensive roster members, but that he did view shedding enough payroll to get under the 2020 luxury tax threshold of $208 million a “realistic goal.”