After completing a blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox to acquire Mookie Betts and David Price, the Los Angeles Dodgers introduced their two new stars in a press conference at Dodger Stadium that was attended by several members of the organization.
It was to show the Dodgers’ excitement in adding Betts and Price to the franchise, as they were touted as the likely difference-makers in ending the World Series drought. Of course, Price wound up opting out, but Betts was key to the Dodgers’ winning their first title since 1988.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has a reputation for being hesitant to part with top prospects, but he did so to acquire Betts and Price as Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong were sent to the Red Sox.
It was easy to see what the Dodgers liked in Betts, a four-time All-Star and 2018 American League MVP; and Price, a five-time All-Star and 2012 AL Cy Young award winner. They both played big parts in the Red Sox winning the 2018 World Series by defeating the Dodgers.
When asked when he first became a fan with Betts and Price, Friedman began: “It was a summer night…”
Friedman and Price go way back to their days with the Tampa Bay Rays when the former drafted the latter No. 1 overall out of Vanderbilt in 2007, so they already have an established relationship.
“David and I obviously have a lot of history. Fortunately, the 2006 Devil Rays were so bad that we got the first pick in the 2007 Draft and wisely chose David,” Friedman reflected. “I’ve watched him grow and continue to evolve on the mound. Obviously the success he’s had is evident and everybody knows about that, but he was as good of a teammate as I’ve ever seen.
“The impact he has in the clubhouse was as significant as I’ve seen, so he was a huge part of the culture and success we had with the Rays. What he does on the mound every fifth day is obvious and evident, but as we continue to look to supplement and add to this core group, what David brings goes beyond every fifth day.”
Friedman long admired Betts
While Price was a solid acquisition who was expected to slot into the middle of the Dodgers’ rotation, he is in back half of his career. Comparatively, Betts is in his prime, and Friedman couldn’t have spoken more highly about what he brings to the table.
“With Mookie, it goes back a long time. From afar. Watching him come up through the Minor Leagues and breaking into the big leagues, he embodies everything that we really value with a position player,” Friedman said.
“The impact he has on defense, the instincts on the bases. In the batter’s box, it’s easy to say: guys who are aggressive in the strike zone and passive out of the strike zone. He embodies all of that.
“When I talked to him the other day, I told him in all the digging that we do on players that we’re looking to acquire, the feedback we got from teammates, clubhouse guys and different guys he’s come across in his career, he would blush if he heard all the nice things that were said about him. The impact he’s made on the field and also off, was another big factor as well.”
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