The Boston Red Sox "have internally discussed the possibility" of attempting to lock up 22-year-old outfielder Mookie Betts, via a report from WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. An extension is merely a concept at this point, as Boston has yet to approach Betts regarding a deal.
Betts has been oft-mentioned this winter as possible trade bait for the likes of Cole Hamels, but Boston's refusal to part with him seems to be a strong indication of their fondness for him. With Rusney Castillo also out with a strained oblique, Betts' status with the Red Sox seems to have been solidified, and he seems poised to start the season in center field and leading off for the Red Sox.
Of course, Betts' big league track record is limited, with just 213 plate appearances in the majors on his resume. He was rather impressive in his short stint with Boston down the stretch last year, as he hit .291/.368/.444 for a 128 OPS+ and 2.1 WAR in just 52 games. He has gotten off to a blistering start in Spring Training. As meaningless as spring stats may be, it can't hurt to hit for a 1.207 OPS in 29 plate appearances.
Projection systems also seem to laud Betts as an above-average performer right out of the gate. PECOTA sees Betts producing a 2.2 WAR in a limited 372 plate appearances, while ZiPS and Steamer project Wins Above Replacements of 3.4 and 3.6 respectively.
Just yesterday, the Marlins locked up Christian Yelich to a seven-year extension guaranteeing him over $50 million, while the Pirates gave Starling Marte a similar extension last spring. Both players were, like Betts, promising young outfielders. However, each also had a full season and change of service time under their belt at the time of their extensions. With a strong full season debut for Betts in 2015, he could find himself in line for a similar hefty chunk of change.