UPDATED AT BOTTOM
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers are putting the finishing touches on an extension that will be worth more than $380 million.
Including 2020, the deal will keep the 27-year-old star outfielder in Dodger blue for 13 years, ostensibly the rest of his career in Major League Baseball.
Once the deal is done, Betts will join Mike Trout ($426.5 million), Bryce Harper ($330 million), Giancarlo Stanton ($325 million), Gerrit Cole ($324 million) and Manny Machado ($300 million) above the $300-million contract threshold.
Before news of the impending deal broke on Wednesday, there was some speculation that Betts would play out the 2020 season in L.A. and then leave town in free agency, possibly to a smaller market like Atlanta. There was also some discussion as to whether Betts would be able to land a massive contract thanks to the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those discussions now appear to be moot which has ESPN’s Buster Olney feeling “very surprised.”
“Of all of the front-office executives in baseball, [L.A. President of Baseball Operations] Andrew Friedman might be the most disciplined, reflexively veering around risk,” Olney said. “He has been the blackjack player who never veers from his system. And this deal carries enormous risk, given the uncertainty about baseball’s financial landscape. It seemed more likely, given Friedman’s discipline, that he would wait to see where the salary numbers moved, and whether there would be fans in the stands in ’21. But the Dodgers obviously can assume more risk than most teams, and when the numbers are this big, it’s ownership’s call. And the prospect of Cody Bellinger and Betts playing side by side is like teaming Superman and Batman.”
A fifth-round pick of the Boston Red Sox who began his career as a second baseman and has morphed into an elite defensive player in the outfield, Betts was voted AL MVP in 2018 and has posted four straight seasons with at least 100 runs, 40 doubles and 20 home runs.
He had 29 home runs and 80 RBIs last season to go along with a .295/.391/.524 slash line in his last year as a Red Sox.
UPDATE: The contract is done.
The Mookie Betts contract extension, which tacks 12 years and $365M onto his $27M salary (of which pro rata pay is $10M) this year, is stunning. While deferrals in the deal are expected, the sheer size of the number — $392M — illustrates how much the Dodgers believe in Betts.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 22, 2020
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