Mookie Betts Gets Paid

Sorry, chowds.

Jim Rome
July 24, 2020 - 10:51 am
Mookie Betts

USA Today

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Meant to get to this yesterday but, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Mookie Betts announced something big, really big. Here’s the tweet from the team: The Los Angeles Dodgers announced that they have signed outfielder Mookie Betts to a 12-year contract through the 2032 season.

Bam! A 12 year contract worth a reported $365 million dollars. That is huge. The largest extension in baseball history. And it includes a 65 million dollar signing bonus, which is also the largest in history.

How’s that taste, Boston fans? Because recently, it seemed like Sox fans were starting to convince themselves that Betts was going to come back to them. That he was going to play out this season and then sign with them in free agency.

Not anymore he’s not and never was. Boston had their chance to pay Betts and they blew it. They had a chance to lock up one of the two best players in the game and they passed. They had the 2018 AL MVP and a four-time Gold Glove winner in their clubhouse and had the chance to keep him there for the rest of his career.

Instead, they traded him in a salary dump and now he’s going to be a Dodger for more than a decade.

Combine the new deal with the year remaining on Betts’ current contract and the total comes to 13 years for 392 million dollars. That is absolutely enormous.

It is a massive deal from the Dodgers and a massive statement by the Dodgers. Because this isn’t a matter of the Dodgers throwing around big money because they’re a big market team. This is the exact opposite of that. They don’t throw around big money. They let Manny Machado walk. They let Hyun-Jin Ryu walk. They let Yasmani Grandal walk.

They haven’t done big, long-term contracts. They’re in the middle of the league in payroll. They have built this team around drafting and developing young talent, not big free agency splash outs. Andrew Friedman has never signed a player for more than 100 million dollars.

So the fact that he’s going past 100 mill, past 200 mill, past 300 mill, and nearly touching 400 mill, in a pandemic, says a ton about Betts.

And the fact that they did it before he even played a regular season game for the Dodgers is huge. The Dodgers watched Betts in spring training and then in summer camp and they saw enough. Actually, they saw more than enough, way more: As one Dodgers executive told Tom Verducci: “He’s everything you want. First of all, he’s a great athlete and a gifted hitter. Watching him day to day you appreciate what he can do. He has an extraordinary ability to track pitches and square them up and he makes incredibly quick yes/no decisions on swings. He is an excellent defender with the ability over time to play four different positions and play them well. He works hard, studies the game, helps young hitters, comes with a positive attitude every day … he’s been a joy to have around in every way. He’s just so impressive.”

In other words, this is the guy they had been saving money for. This is why they hadn’t thrown crazy money at other free agents. Because it wasn’t about signing a guy, it was about signing THE guy. And for the Dodgers, Betts is THE guy.

They’re saying that’s the guy we want on our team for a decade and that’s the guy we want all our young guys to model themselves after.

Yes, it’s a long contract. And it means that they might be paying him big money in his late 30s, but long-term contracts aren’t about getting value in year 11 or 12. They’re about spreading out the payments so that you’re getting a guy locked up for his prime in your jersey.

Betts said his goal is one thing and one thing only: "I just love being here. I love everything about here. I'm here to win some rings and bring championships back to LA. That's all I'm focused on."

Does signing Betts guarantee a ring? No. Of course not. The only thing that guarantees a ring is winning four games in the World Series. And Betts doesn’t have to win a ring in LA to justify the contract. That’s always been a terrible take as well.

Signing Betts to this deal doesn’t guarantee a ring, but it will keep giving them a look at I and LA is doing what Boston wouldn’t – paying for big time talent and competing for a World Series right now. You lost TB12 and you lost Mookie Betts. As most native Bostonian father used to say me whenever something bad happened me when I was kid, HOW’S THAT GRAB YA, JIMMMEEE.