The baseball landscape changed drastically Tuesday when the Boston Red Sox Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In doing so, the Red Sox got a tremendous amount of salary off of their books with Betts and starting pitcher David Price heading to the Dodgers.
On Wednesday, Hall of Famer and former Red Sox star and hitting coach Jim Rice joined MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM and stated that Betts wanted to remain in Boston.
"[Mookie Betts] said 'I wanted to stay. It was a business deal and they chose to go that way and I have to accept it,'" Rice said.
Boston did have dialogue in the past about a potential contract extension with Betts. The 27-year old outfielder will become a free agent following the 2020 season without an extension, so the Red Sox made a financial decision to part ways with Betts rather than risk only recouping a draft pick for his services if he were to sign with another team.
Now the Red Sox don't have to pay a lucrative extension to Betts that could've netted him $300 million-400 million. According to reports, the Red Sox offered Betts a contract in the neighborhood of $300 million, but he was looking for a $420 million contract.
In addition, they won't have to pay the entire remaining $96 million on the contract David Price signed with Boston before the 2016 season.
"The Red Sox wanted to get under the luxury tax," Rice added. "Something had to happen. I think the whole situation was getting under the luxury tax. They felt like they were only going to have Mookie for one more year then he goes to the highest bidder."
Even if it was more about money for the Red Sox, the team still didn't receive highly touted prospects that could've eventually made the Betts loss more acceptable. With Rice saying that Betts didn't want to leave Boston, that could make this trade all the more difficult to swallow for Red Sox fans.