BOSTON (CBS) -- Mookie Betts won't be a free agent until after the 2020 season, but his future has become a big topic in Boston.
And rightfully so. He's one of the best young players in baseball, coming off his first MVP season. He should be in line for a monster payday next off-season. Emphasis on should.
Given the latest trend that has hit baseball, Betts isn't sure what the heck is going to happen two winters from now. Stars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain unsigned at the moment, along with a handful of other players who should have signed long ago. But teams are being much more frugal with their cash these days, unwilling to sign long-term commitments for gigantic sums of money. And when they do hand out those contracts, it's now happening in February rather than November or December.
Betts spoke with reporters down in Fort Myers, Florida on Thursday for the first time this spring, and said he'll remain patient when his time comes to hit the free agent market. He would like to sign with the Red Sox long-term, but knows that in the end, a lot can happen on the business end of things.
"If everything works out well; I love this place and I love Boston. Just one of those things where you have to see how it goes," said Betts, who avoided arbitration with the Sox this year by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $20 million. "I will say I love my teammates, my coaches and everyone who has been around. I have a great deal of respect for the front office."
That $20 million salary is peanuts compared to what Betts could be paid in a few years, though he admitted that he's getting a little nervous based on how this winter has played out.
"I don't want to speak on anyone's free agency, but its not good that you can probably make and All-Star team with the free agents still out there," he said.
But Betts won't let the future distract him from the present. And at the moment, all he and his Red Sox teammates are thinking about is repeating as World Series champs. They're turning the page on their magical 2018 season, hoping to write a new chapter in Red Sox history.
"For this crew it wont be that hard. We did a great job with it last year, turning the page each and every day. This is a completely new year and I don't think it'll be tough to turn the page and focus on what's happening now," said Betts. "There is a target on our back. We won last year so everyone is out to get us. We understand that and you have to embrace it. We have to play our game; not try to do more than we did last year. We just settle down and do what we do, we'll be fine."
As for his own production, Betts isn't satisfied with just one MVP season.
"I had a good year. In order to be great you have to have a bunch of good years," he said Thursday.
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