Jeff Passan of ESPN is reporting that the Los Angeles Dodgers are close to finalizing a 13 year deal with impending free agent and former Boston Red Sox Mookie Betts that will be worth more than $380 Million. This deal includes his 2020 salary of $27 million, so the extension finalizes at 12 years for roughly $360 million.
Before Covid-19 the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts, along with David Price, to the Dodgers for outfielder Alex Verdugo, top prospect Jeter Downs, and catching prospect Connor Wong. At the time Mookie turned down a 10 year/$300 million contract from Red Sox ownership. While Mookie signed a longer deal with the Dodgers, his AAV will likely not increase from the $30 Million that Boston offered.
Some people may say that this extension proves that Mookie did not want to stay in Boston, but that is not the case. When the Red Sox traded Betts, they assumed we would have a full 162 game season with fans in attendance. Corona has prevented a normal season from happening, which has affected Mookie’s free agent value.
Betts’ countered Boston’s 10 year/$300 million offer with a request of 12 years/$420 million. Mookie likely would have received offers in free agency around that mark if we had a normal 2020 season. With Covid-19, there will be less money to go around this winter due to team revenues dropping. This has caused Mookie Betts to sign an extension with the Dodgers to avoid a dried up free agent market.
It is likely that Betts would have signed a similar extension to stay in Boston had the Red Sox not traded him away before Spring Training, but hindsight is 20/20. Boston ownership could not have envisioned what the Coronavirus would do to the world and sports.
Players with expiring contracts will likely receive less than what they would have in a normal year. Expect many pending free agents to follow Mookie Betts in signing long-term extensions. J.T. Realmuto is a player that may follow suit. These guys will still sign big money contracts, but they will not be record breaking.
Boston fans may be upset with Mookie’s decision, but circumstances have changed. Mookie may have signed a similar extension with Boston had he been met with the same situation.
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