Dodgers Rumors: Mookie Betts ‘Deep Into Negotiations’ On Contract Extension

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The Los Angeles Dodgers made one of the biggest splashes of the offseason as just before the start of Spring Training they acquired Mookie Betts and David Price in a blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox.

While Price is a former Cy Young winner, he is on the back half of his career, so Betts was obviously the headliner of the trade as a former MVP and four-time All-Star.

The reason that Boston decided to trade him was their desire to get below the luxury tax as well as Betts being in his final year of club control. It was believed he had a preference to test free agency after contract extension negotiations with Boston went nowhere.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman completed the deal knowing Betts wanted to reach free agency and may only be with the team for a year. Later came the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the a possibility that Betts never played a single game for the Dodgers.

With Opening Day on Thursday, that isn’t going to happen, and it appears that Friedman has even gotten Betts to consider foregoing free agency altogether. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Dodgers and Betts are close to agreeing on a huge extension to keep him in L.A. long-term:

The parameters that @LouMerloni first alluded to — a deal of 10 years — would be the sort to prompt Betts to forgo free agency. The devil will be in the details — the money, the structure of payments, how to proceed if fans cannot return in 2021 and other important issues.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 22, 2020

Including 2020, the new deal is expected to keep Mookie Betts in a Dodger uniform for 13 years at more than $380 million.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 22, 2020

Friedman made it clear when the Dodgers acquired Betts that he was the best player he will ever trade for and he hoped to keep him in the organization long-term.

The Dodgers ownership group has passed on handing out lucrative long-term deals to free agents such as Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Gerrit Cole the last few offseasons. Betts is arguably the best position player in baseball not named Mike Trout and is also an outstanding person off the field as well, making him the perfect player to give that type of contract to at 27 years of age.

While the goal for the Dodgers is to win a World Series with Betts on the roster in 2020, their window for winning it all could extend for the next decade with the young talent they have and their new star outfielder potentially sticking around.

Free agency was afterthought

While Betts acknowledged the prospect of opting out this season wasn’t something he seriously considered because of free agency implications, reaching the open market wasn’t at the forefront for him nor was there regret with not coming to terms with the Red Sox.

“Free agency is like on the back burner, that will come,” Betts said earlier this month. “That’s nothing that I’m really thinking about right now. The market will be what the market is. We’ll kind of cross that bridge when we get there.”

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