The Los Angeles Dodgers set out at the beginning of the offseason to add elite talent to their roster and the months-long quest culminated this week when a trade for Mookie Betts and David Price was finalized.
Both players are expected to be key contributors for a Dodgers team looking to win its first World Series since 1988, but Betts especially so. The 2018 American League MVP gives L.A. another dynamic talent to place in the outfield and a needed right-handed bat.
Betts’ versatility allowed for some questions on how he would fit in with the Dodgers, but manager Dave Roberts provided some clarity Wednesday. “I might’ve been able to go through some notebook paper and put down some potential lineups,” he said.
“But yeah, to see Mookie in right field where he’s obviously won Gold Gloves and Platinum Gloves, and to see him at the top of the order, I think that makes a lot of sense.”
Betts broke into the Majors with the Red Sox primarily as a center fielder. However, that changed in 2016 and remained the case through last season as he mainly played right field. As Roberts alluded to, Betts has won a Gold Glove in each of the past four years.
Since becoming an everyday right fielder, Betts has only played 31 games (29 starts) in center — with that coming during the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
With Roberts indicating Betts is penciled for a corner outfield spot, it essentially cements Cody Bellinger in center field. He began last season in right field and also spent time at first base but was eventually shifted to center.
Bellinger himself won a Gold Glove last year, in addition to a pair of Fielding Bible Awards.
Although Betts playing right field was a safe assumption, where he figured to slot in the Dodgers lineup was even more clear. The team has lacked a steady option in the leadoff spot since trading Dee Gordon, and Betts’ power, speed and discipline should set the table well for Justin Turner, Bellinger, Max Muncy, et al.
Even with a dip in production last season, Betts hit .295/.391/.524 with 40 doubles, 29 home runs, 80 RBI and 97 walks. He led the Majors with 135 runs and earned a third career Silver Slugger Award (second consecutive).
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