FORT MYERS, Fla. -- We will evidently have to wait until next offseason for more Mookie Betts contract talk.
Meeting with the media at JetBlue Park Thursday morning, the Red Sox outfielder said that he's not interested in talking about a contract extension now that things have gotten underway in this new season, only offering, "I've enjoyed my time here, for sure. Now that 2018 is here I can focus on this calendar year and next year we can focus there. Right now I'm just worried about 2018."
But there was the matter of what transpired during this past offseason when it comes to Betts' contract.
The 25-year-old attended his own arbitration hearing, during which the Red Sox argued that Betts should make $7.5 million instead of the $10.5 million he was asking for. It's a process that can get dicey considering the club's job is to poke holes in any idea that the player is worth more money. But the outfielder didn't seem to mind -- probably, in part, because he came out on the winning side of things.
"Just seeing that side of it is pretty interesting," he said. "I like those type of things, kind of see how people debate. There were no hard feelings, nothing wrong, I love these guys. Nothing changed. I’m just going to continue to go out and play and have my same relationship that I always have."
As for if he took offense to any of the Red Sox' arguments, Betts said, "No, you can’t argue with the facts. You just have to kind of listen and so it was one of those things where I didn’t know that, this, that or the other, but I didn’t take anything personal. Nothing that was said was personal. It was all just a debate that both sides stated fact."
Was there anything that stood out in the back and forth?
"I don’t even remember. I just kind of filtered it all out after it was over," he noted. "I do know that nothing was said bad. there’s no hard feelings anywhere on both sides. I think we still have a great relationship."
Overall, Betts painted a picture that the hearing was more of a learning process rather than some kind of confrontation. He will be eligible to go through two more offseasons of arbitration before having a crack at free agency.