Mookie Betts may not need to test the free-agent market, after all.
The star Dodgers outfielder is close to signing a long-term contract extension with Los Angeles that could be worth between $350 and $400 million over 10-plus years, NBC Sports Boston and WEEI analyst Lou Merloni reported Wednesday.
Sorry @Jared_Carrabis your dream scenario may come to an end within the next couple days, I’m told. Mookie will remain in LA for a very very long time. 10+ yrs for BIG $$. Between 350-400. @WEEI @OMFonWEEI— Louie Merloni (@LouMerloni) July 22, 2020
While Betts was expected to command in the $350 to $400 million range in 2021 free agency prior to the coronavirus pandemic, many believed he'd have to take a significant pay cut due to the impact of COVID-19 on major league clubs.
Get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App
Yet the Dodgers appear willing to pay up for the 27-year-old outfielder, a lifetime .301 hitter and 2018 American League MVP who was one of the best position players in baseball before the Boston Red Sox traded him to Los Angeles in February.
Such a deal would validate Betts turning down the reported $300 million contract extension the Red Sox offered him last offseason, as his decision to "bet on himself" could make him one of the richest players in baseball.
Betts signing a massive extension obviously would rule out the pipe dream of him returning to Boston in free agency following the shortened 2020 season, so Red Sox fans may have to accept the reality that their erstwhile superstar will become the face of different franchise.
UPDATE (1:40 p.m. ET): USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale confirmed Merloni's report, noting that Betts and the Dodgers could strike a deal before L.A.'s season opener on Thursday night.
Mookie Betts' deal, which is expected to be finalize before the #Dodgers' season-opener, would make him the richest player in #MLB history, surpassing Mike Trout's 10-year, $360 million extension a year ago.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 22, 2020
ESPN's Jeff Passan reports the contract is worth more than $380 million and will keep Betts in L.A. for 13 years.
Including 2020, the new deal is expected to keep Mookie Betts in a Dodger uniform for 13 years at more than $380 million.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 22, 2020