Not too long ago, many Boston Red Sox fans envisioned Mookie Betts spending his entire MLB career hitting at Fenway Park. Betts was a homegrown superstar with a trophy case that included multiple Gold Glove Awards, a batting title, an American League MVP and a 2018 World Series ring.
But the Red Sox and Betts were unable to agree on a contract extension and the franchise decided to trade him to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February. Betts was eligible for unrestricted free agency after the 2020 season, and rather than risk losing him for nothing, Boston was able to turn the veteran outfielder (as well as pitcher David Price) into three young players: Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong and Jeter Downs.
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Red Sox fans, for obvious reasons, were very disappointed when Betts was traded. But there was some hope that he could return to Boston as a free agent in the winter. This dream died Wednesday when the Dodgers announced Betts had signed a 12-year contract extension. The deal reportedly is worth $365 million.
Would Betts have accepted a similar deal to re-sign with the Red Sox? He was asked during a press conference Wednesday.
Here's the full exchange:
Brook Smith, Dodgers Nation: “Mookie, I hate to look back on the past since we’re so excited about the future with you, but if the Red Sox had offered you any kind of similar deal is that something that you would’ve taken? Or is the fact that it’s with this team and this city play into it at all?”
Betts: "I think that’s a very valid question. You know, I think I just want to stick with -- I’m here in L.A. for 12, 13 years. I’m super excited about this opportunity. Like I said, the goal is to bring back some rings over this period of time and that’s what I’m going to be here and work for.”
Rings are most certainly the expectation for the Dodgers with Betts now in the fold long-term.
The Dodgers, who haven't won the World Series since 1988, are hoping the former MVP is the final piece to their championship puzzle. Los Angeles has come really close to ending its World Series drought in recent seasons. The franchise has reached the postseason in seven consecutive years, including World Series losses in 2017 and 2018. The Dodgers enter the 2020 season as the betting favorites to win the World Series with +375 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Nothing less than a championship would make 2020 a successful season for the Dodgers.