Before Spring Training was shut down and the start of the 2020 MLB season was delayed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, everything was seemingly going right for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Not only were they in the midst of their healthiest spring in years, but they also had just completed a blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox to acquire Mookie Betts and Davis Price. Betts and Price both brought championship experience to the Dodgers’ clubhouse.
The former let that be known right away when he stood up in front of the team on the first day of Spring Training and gave a speech about holding everyone accountable. Bets’ message was well-received by the players as everyone has the same goal of winning the World Series in 2020.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts appreciated it as well, believing that Betts helped ensure the organization and players would strive to excel in not only games but drills, via ESPN:
“He basically just called us out in the best possible way as far as what it’s going to take this group to get to the next level and hold that trophy up. Just a sense of urgency, playing for one another and the little things. He had this little thing about every mistake we make is going to be a contribution to the pot; whether it’s cutoffs and relays or PFPs. We’re going to take that through the World Series. To be a guy that talks the talk, walks the walk, and with the back of his baseball card and credibility he has, it spoke volumes.”
It couldn’t have been easy for Betts to stand up in front of his new teammates like that, especially considering he only had one year remaining on his contract before reaching free agency.
That ultimately became a moot point as the Dodgers signed Betts to a record 12-year contract extension on the eve of Opening Day. And although he was new to the team and didn’t have a future yet secured with the organization, Price encouraged Betts to speak his mind if he felt compelled to do so, but he also issued caution.
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During the introductory press conference for Betts and Price, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman raved about the makeup of both players. He then echoed a similar sentiment about Betts when discussing the long-term contract extension that was agreed to.
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