Bradfo Sho: Mookie Betts talks business of baseball, playing in Boston

Rob Bradford
June 12, 2019 - 10:03 am

Mookie Betts' future continues to be one of the biggest talking points when it comes to these Red Sox.

The outfielder is eligible to become a free agent after the 2020 season, having avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $20 million deal this past offseason. And with the flurry of contract extensions prior to this season -- including Mike Trout's 12-year, $426.5 million deal -- the intrigue only amps up with each passing day.

Joining the Bradfo Sho podcast, Betts discussed the challenge that comes with separating the on-the-field performance and the business of baseball.

"It’s kind of tough as you’re playing you kind of wonder what is going to happen to you as you go through arbitration or as you go through free agency," he said. "It’s one of those things you have to find a way to separate the two. Even though this is a business you do have people here that you’re with every day, like your family. You want to go play for them and you want to win with them. You have to find a way to do that but understand that there is a business side to it. You have to find a way to understand."

Does it become more difficult to deal with as free agency draws closer? "Not really," he added. "I’m still around the same guys, playing the same game. Obviously, I’m a little older, but that’s the only thing. I’m a year or two older just doing the same thing."

There is also the question regarding how much Betts would want to call Boston home for the remainder of his career. The Nashville native is honest in talking about the adjustment he has made since coming to the big city, citing the experience as a chance to view areas outside of his hometown in a different light.

"When I first got here I wasn’t a huge fan of it. I really didn’t like the city that much, but it has definitely grown on me," he explained. "Obviously we have great fans and a great fan base. It has definitely grown on me. I love my teammates. The front office, I think they do a good job of putting us in a good spot to succeed. Like I said, I’m with these guys eight out of 12 months and I couldn’t ask for a better group."

Why the initial discomfort?

"I think just because coming from Nashville, slower pace, a little more spread out," Betts explained. "Boston is kind of tight. And the people, obviously different attitudes and those sort of things. Nothing against anybody but it’s kind of how it is. I’ve learned to … You can put me on a plane now and I can go anywhere and just by talking having one or two conversations I can have an idea where I am in the U.S. or whatever. Being here has definitely helped me learn to adapt to different cultures and different people."

Also discussed on the podcast is Betts' view of how leadership in the Red Sox' clubhouse has evolved since David Ortiz's departure, along with the idea that Major League Baseball players like himself should show more personality. There is also a deep-dive discussion as to the thinking behind Kevin Durant playing in the NBA Finals.

Related: Bradfo Sho, Ep. 105: Sitting down with Mookie