When the Dodgers traded for Mookie Betts back in February (which seems like a decade ago), some were fretting about the team being able/willing to retain him after the 2020 campaign.
Fast forward five months and, well, seems some fans are about to be able to do a lot less fretting.
The first person to have it was Lou Merloni — former MLB player and current Boston sports radio personality.
I’m sure he’d forgive us for being skeptical, but considering the recent Patrick Mahomes contract extension with Kansas City was initially reported by a liquor store employee, there were worse sources for this information. Passan confirming Merloni’s report (and later Ken Rosenthal and the LA Times’ Jorge Castillo) means it’s happening.
Betts had reportedly turned down contract extension offers from Boston over the last couple years, and he was set on testing the free agent market — a wise move for one of the game’s best players. But with COVID-19 here and not going away, Betts probably realized his best chance to maximize his earnings would be to sign an extension with the Dodgers. And the reported terms are 10-plus years in the $350-400 million range. In a normal year, he may have bested one or both of those numbers, but 2020 has been anything but normal.
The Dodgers have been a somewhat frugal when it comes to free agents in the Andrew Friedman era, but that began to change as recently as this winter. They offered Gerrit Cole an 8-year, $300 million deal before he opted to go with the Yankees’ 9-year, $324 million deal. In some ways, Betts is the position player equivalent of Cole. Each are one of the best players in the entire sport, and the Dodgers could use a player such as that on their squad for the next 8-10 years.
Here’s a nice find by Ryan Walton from Betts (and David Price‘s) initial press conference.
Friedman got his guy in the trade, and now he’s going to lock him up long-term.
The Dodgers are betting on Betts continuing to be excellent for many years to come. He’ll help to anchor the lineup, play elite-level defense in right field and give them a face of the franchise to pair with Cody Bellinger. And Betts doesn’t turn 28 until October.
The deal isn’t yet official, but when reports are this present, it’s only a matter of time. It’s safe to go buy your Mookie Betts jerseys and shirseys.
One last thing about Betts. Remember all those Boston honks who said he looked so miserable during that presser?