It’s one thing to go to salary arbitration with a reliever by the name of Fernando Abad, like the Red Sox did last year.

It’s quite another for the Sox to enter a room with the heart, soul and future of their organization – that’s Mookie Betts – and then say to his face all the ways they don’t think he’s worth what he thinks he’s worth.

Even if the Red Sox “win” against Betts, they still lose.

For a team that’s already playing a high-stakes poker hand they are not assured of winning with free agent outfielder J.D. Martinez, the Red Sox cannot afford the risk of alienating a young, no longer budding but budded superstar over the next three seasons before he becomes a free agent.

If the arbitration hearing between Betts and the Red Sox had come out of the blue, there would be no need to write a column about this standoff.

After all, arbitration is just the business side of baseball. It’s the process players and owners agreed to for hammering out one-year salaries for players with three or two-plus years of service but fewer than the six needed to become a free agent.

And since this is Betts’ first stab at arbitration, one shouldn’t get in a lather about the sides having vastly different estimates on what the right fielder should be paid next season. Betts’ representatives made a bold request of $10.5 million, while the Red Sox came in far below, at $7.5 million. The sides agreed if they could not settle by last Friday’s deadline, talks would end and a three-person arbitration panel would decide.

But what makes news of Betts’ hearing of concern from the viewpoint of a Red Sox fan is that this isn’t the first time the sides have disagreed about money and worth – it’s the third. There’s no law against a team and a player squabbling over money, but when it comes to Betts and the Sox, the early polling suggests their trendline veers in the wrong direction.

A report last summer from FanRag stated the team tried last winter to get Betts to agree to a long-term contract extension, but he declined.

Last offseason, Betts and the Red Sox could not agree on a 2017 salary after Betts nearly won the AL MVP award. The Red Sox renewed him for $950,000, which the ballclub rightly and quickly noted was the second-highest salary for a non-arbitration eligible player with two years of service.

On the day Betts’ contract was renewed early last March, he held court briefly with a small group of reporters and stressed that he was not upset because “both sides didn’t agree and that’s OK. That’s part of business.”

With a significant amount of conviction, Betts also offered a hint that he’s not going to bend principles when it comes to what he, his representatives and no doubt the players’ union believe constitutes a rightful paycheck.

“Right now, I’m just worried about 2017. And as 2018 approaches, we’ll switch gears to 2018,” Betts said.

And, here we are, headed into 2018, and Betts and the Red Sox still cannot get on the same page when it comes to finances.

For a team dedicated via the quote sheet to building around its core of young players, this marks an inauspicious strategy for dealing with the best and brightest of them all. Since Dave Dombrowski came aboard in August 2015 as president of baseball operations, we have seen him give up on Pablo Sandoval’s $95 million albatross of a contract, dish out one huge and lengthy free agent deal to 30-year-old starter David Price, make three smart trades for starters Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz and closer Craig Kimbrel, and fire a manager.

We’ve yet to see Dombrowski in action locking up the young-player core he inherited.

Service time has dictated Dombrowski could hold off on those decisions, but the issue is part of why a closing window for winning is so often mentioned when it comes this team. If the Red Sox win their case against Betts, it’s unimaginable to think someone will step up and crow about the victory. No, the Sox don’t have a personality like that in the front office and Betts for now will likely keep his true feelings to himself. But don’t mistake silence for absence of emotion.

For now, the differences between the Red Sox and Betts speak more than loudly enough.

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