Here’s one technique to outline a real Major League Baseball famous person: In what looks like a down yr, or a minimum of one which has include pockets of surprisingly extended frustration, he’s nonetheless one of many premier gamers in baseball.
Mookie Betts shouldn’t be going to repeat as American League Most Valuable Player this season. He’s not even probably the most helpful and productive participant within the Red Sox lineup, and we’ll save that enjoyable Rafael Devers vs. Xander Bogaerts argument for an additional day.
His slugging proportion is down 156 factors from his majors-leading .640 final yr. His batting common is down 61 factors from his MLB-leading .346 final yr.
He has 15 residence runs, as many as catcher Christian Vazquez, one fewer than Michael Chavis, and two greater than Mitch Moreland, who has performed one recreation since May 25. He’s made a few uncharacteristic defensive miscues in proper discipline.
No, it’s not the perfect sequel to an MVP season we’ve ever seen. Given the excessive expectations of Betts, you could possibly say it’s even been disappointing. If this yr’s lineup was anchored by final yr’s model of Betts (or the 2016 model, when he was runner as much as Mike Trout for AL MVP), maybe the Red Sox wouldn’t be the American League’s biggest enigma because the July 31 commerce deadline approaches.
And but, per baseball-reference’s model of wins above alternative, right here is your complete record of Major League place gamers which have supplied extra worth this yr:
Cody Bellinger, Mike Trout, Christian Yelich, Matt Chapman, Ketel Marte, Alex Bregman, Jorge Polanco, and D.J. LeMahieu.
Eight gamers. That’s it. Eight have been higher than Betts, who’s tied with Oakland’s Marcus Semien at 4.2 WAR.
Go forward, hit me together with your WAR-what-is-it-good-for clichés, and sure, it does favor gamers like Betts that do every part effectively. Those are, in spite of everything, the form of gamers you need.
I’m not arguing that this season has been best for him, although he’s main the majors in runs (88) and has been Mookie: Back With a Vengeance in current weeks, having had a 12-game hitting streak throughout which he hit .451 with a 1.217 OPS finish Sunday.
There have been actual frustrations.
My level is meant to be taken in a broader context. It’s not simply that he’s superb even when he’s not close to his greatest, it’s this:
Any suggestion of buying and selling Mookie Betts proper now’s ludicrous. And I don’t get why a single Red Sox fan would even ponder such an concept.
His contract is up after subsequent season? Rather a lot can occur between at times. We don’t have any sense for what he has informed the Red Sox, or whether or not his asking worth has been affected by this season, how he actually feels about enjoying right here, none of that. He hasn’t stated what we’d like to listen to, however he hasn’t stated I’m outta right here, fellas, both. The course of is enjoying out. And we shouldn’t presume. Admit it: You thought Bogaerts, a Scott Boras consumer, was going to go to free company, didn’t you? We simply don’t know what Betts is pondering.
The Red Sox are middling alongside in a six-team wild-card race, simply misplaced two of three to a Baltimore crew that ought to have been relegated to the International League earlier than the season, and it’s not occurring this yr, so why not see what you may get for everybody? Hey, I get that frustration. This was a awful week, going simply 4-3 in opposition to the Jays and Orioles, with the Rays and Yankees forward. There have been so many potholes alongside the way in which to turning into the crew we thought they may very well be that maybe we should always understand that inflicting self-inflicted further levels of issue is simply part of this crew’s make-up.
They’ve received a pair extra days right here to find out whether or not they’re consumers, whether or not they’ll simply experience out, or whether or not they need to promote. If they do promote, it ought to be smaller components — Rick Porcello, if a crew thinks he’s salvageable this yr, or Brock Holt, or possibly even J.D. Martinez in the event that they suppose he may choose out and head elsewhere.
But you don’t commerce Betts. You don’t commerce a 26-year-old famous person greater than a yr from free company to replenish a farm system with prospects that probably won’t ever method what he’s as a participant. Who are these prospects? How near the majors are they? And why do you like lottery tickets to an ideal participant in his prime who’s beneath contract for an additional yr?
This shouldn’t be 2014, with a bunch of getting older veterans on quick contracts able to be moved. This is a crew that has signed Bogaerts and Chris Sale long-term within the final six months, has watched Devers flip into the most effective hitters within the league, immediately has a good-hitting catcher in Vazquez, and nonetheless has All-Star high quality gamers like Martinez and David Price. This shouldn’t be a franchise in disarray that wants a rebuild. It’s a crew that ought to be contending now, and is constructed to contend within the close to future.
What it wants is roster tweaks and about three main league arms within the bullpen. You don’t commerce Betts, a participant who comes round simply a couple of times a technology, as a result of Dave Dombrowski constructed a superb 20-man roster.
You do every part you possibly can to make him keep.