FORT MYERS, Fla. — Boston Red Sox owner John Henry addressed the media for the first time since his team dealt Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers, attempting to explain the move to a fan base that is incensed over the trade of the homegrown MVP.
“The baseball organizations that we compete against have become much more strategic and thoughtful about how and when they spend their resources in their question for titles,” Henry said in prepared remarks. “We cannot shy away from tough decisions required to aggressively compete for the World Series. That’s what led to this trade.”
Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Sam Kennedy all denied that the primary reason behind the trade was to cut payroll and get below the competitive balance tax threshold. Henry had expressed his desire for the team to cut payroll in September, before clarifying that it was a “goal,” not a “mandate.” A few days after Henry’s initial comments, Kennedy said it would be difficult for Boston to keep both Betts and J.D. Martinez, who had an opt-out in his contract after 2019 for the 2020 season.