Mookie Betts Responds To Dodgers Free Agency Criticism

The Los Angeles Dodgers have dominated the offseason by signing Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto to respective record-setting contracts, while also trading for Tyler Glasnow, and adding Teoscar Hernández to a lineup that already featured All-Stars in Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Will Smith, among others.

The Dodgers had long coveted Ohtani and landed the two-way superstar on a 10-year, $700 million contract. While it’s the richest deal in professional sports history, Ohtani agreed to defer to $680 million of his salary.

That helped the Dodgers maintain payroll flexibility, which presumably aided the signing of Yamamoto to a 12-year deal worth $325 million.

All told, the Dodgers have committed to spending more than $1 billion in free agency this offseason, and it’s earned them plenty of criticism from those outside the organization.

During an appearance on “Dodger Talk” with host David Vassegh, Betts was at a loss for why the Dodgers have been perceived in such a negative light, via AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio:

“I mean, it kind of is what it is. I don’t know what you want us to do? You want us to not win? I don’t know what you want us to do. When you’re blessed with an ability, why would you not use that? You know what I’m saying?

“I don’t know. Y’all tell me what you want us to do. You want us to not try and win? That’s the whole point of playing the game, right? Without getting into the business and all that stuff, sorry. ‘Sorry for trying, guys. We won’t do that again.’ That doesn’t make sense.”

The Dodgers ownership group does have the benefit of financial prowess under Guggenheim Baseball Management, and it’s coupled with a shrewd, if not spectacular, front office led by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.

However, New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is far and away the richest in baseball.

In Ohtani’s case, he presented the same contract structure to both the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels. The Giants agreed to the terms while it’s believed the Angels declined to match it.

Yamamoto also had offers similar to his Dodgers contract from the Mets and New York Yankees. During his introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium, Yamamoto conveyed he had long been fond of the Dodgers organization and it played a part in his decision.

Mookie Betts part of Dodgers deferred salaries

Months after trading for Betts, the Dodgers signed Betts to a 12-year, $365 million contract extension. His deal includes deferred salary as well, with $115 million owed through 2044.

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