Just before the start of Spring Training, the Los Angeles Dodgers made arguably the biggest splash of the winter by trading for Mookie Betts and David Price from the Boston Red Sox.
Betts is entering his final year of club control before likely signing a monster contract in free agency this winter. The Red Sox were not able to come to an agreement on an extension with him and had desires to get below the luxury tax threshold in 2020, which led to the blockbuster trade to send one of the five best players in baseball to the Dodgers.
The Dodgers thought Betts would be the missing piece to them winning their first World Series since 1988. Unfortunately, they have not been able to find out if that’s the case because the 2020 regular season was put on hold due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
To make matters even worse, MLB ruled players will be credited with last year’s service time even if the entire 2020 season is cancelled, Meaning, Betts will be a free agent this winter regardless of if he and everyone else step on the field or not.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman noted that while he’s certainly aware of that possibility, he ultimately believes Betts will play for the team before 2020 is out, via SportsNet LA:
“No, it probably will if that played out that way. But right now, I think things have been so busy, it’s hard to look out past a day or week at a time. I certainly appreciate and understand that is a possibility. I’m optimistic that won’t be the case. But if it were to play out that way, obviously then I’ll have more thoughts on it. Right now our focus is on having him be a real key piece in us winning a championship in 2020.”
Friedman has made it clear the Dodgers hope to re-sign Betts in free agency, so even if this season has to be cancelled, it is still possible the 2018 American League MVP signs a long-term deal in the offseason and takes the field at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day in 2021.
Betts recently said that although it was weird at first, playing for the Dodgers began to feel like home when everything was shut down in the middle of March. More recently he reiterated being excited to suit up for the team.
That certainly bodes well for the Dodgers’ chances of keeping him, although only time will tell what Betts’ long-term plans are in free agency. MLB having a 2020 season and L.A. potentially winning the World Series could only help their odds.
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