BOSTON -- The conventional wisdom is that Mookie Betts is having a down year. Yet by the end of the season, he's going to post statistics pretty similar to what he had in 2018, when he was the American League MVP. He'll score more runs this year than last, he already has more walks than last year, and he could have more extra-base hits.
In a sense, Betts has the Boston Red Sox franchise backed into a corner. If the Sox try (again) to sign him, his contract would probably be the highest baseball deal doled out in the Northeast corridor. If they can't sign him -- Betts is eligible for free agency next fall -- or won't, they'd have to consider dealing their best and most popular player, and in any trade, they would probably not be able to replicate his actual value and probably would ignite anger and frustration in their fan base.
Teams generally adhere to what the numbers say, but Betts clearly has emotional leverage over the Red Sox in his contract situation. He isn't the only one. Here are some of the other players who do: