The Dodgers have landed their prize in free agency several months early, finalizing a 12-year/$365 million deal with outfielder Mookie Betts, keeping him in a Dodgers uniform for the foreseeable future.
Fans were said to have to wait a few days as of Wednesday morning for an official announcement; but the team acted fast, and Betts’ deal is now finished.
Some thoughts around Major League Baseball after the trade to acquire Betts was done was that he’d come to Los Angeles and ride out the remainder of his contract before spurning the team in free agency and returning to the Red Sox.
Hope was there, but it was not meant to be.
After all, Betts, 27, hit .295/.391/.524 with 29 home runs for Boston, and drove in 80 RBIs, stole 16 out of 19 bases and scored a career-high 135 runs in 150 games.
But his 162-game average will remain in Los Angeles, and as of now it totals out to a .301/.374/.519 line with 28 home runs, 96 RBIs, 125 runs scored and 26 stolen bases across his six seasons in Boston.
In Spring Training he hit just .238/.261/.286 with an RBI, stolen base and two runs scored in 21 at-bats across eight games.
In two exhibition games against the Diamondbacks earlier this week, he went 3-for-6 with a home run, RBI, three runs scored and a walk. He did not play in Tuesday night’s exhibition contest against the Angels.
The deal to get Betts also included shortstop Jeter Downs, another of the team’s top prospects, and catcher Connor Wong, also getting the Red Sox to take on a chunk of Price’s contract.
Betts is slated to be the Opening Day starter in right field, atop the Dodgers’ lineup in Thursday’s contest against the Giants and Johnny Cueto.
With the aforementioned pandemic going on, it was questioned if the free agency market would be impacted by the hit of the economy. If this rumor is true, Betts clearly will not be affected.
Other names slated to hit free agency include: Justin Turner, Joc Pederson, Blake Treinen of the Dodgers, and names such as J.T. Realmuto of the Phillies, George Springer of the Astros and Corey Kluber of the Rangers.
Could we see more extensions get signed ahead of free agency?
Betts added to an outfield that already included perennial MVP Cody Bellinger and also Joc Pederson, Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and A.J. Pollock.
Perhaps the scariest thought for the rest of the league is how young this team is, and how controllable the roster is for the franchise.
Collectively between those nine players, Betts is the second-oldest in the core, which averages out to 24.8 years old. Last season the Nationals were the oldest team at 30.1, the Dodgers were in the middle of the pack at 28, with the Orioles being the youngest at 27.4. Now you’re saying that the core is only 24.8 years old at average.
The team, alongside the Yankees are 7/2 favorites to win the World Series according to Caesars Casino.
Betts already put them over the top for the 2020 season; but what does his signing do for the Dodgers throughout the 20s? How about the 30s? Tell us in the comments.