After spending a few months during the pandemic shutdown wondering if the Dodgers would in fact get to have Mookie Betts, having traded for him in February, it seems like the superstar’s stay in Los Angeles could last well beyond 2020.
Former Red Sox player and current WEEI radio host Lou Merloni reported Wednesday morning that the Dodgers and Betts were nearing a contract extension for at least 10 years and between $350-400 million.
The report was since confirmed by other national reporters, and LA Times Dodgers beat writer Jorge Castillo.
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
Mookie Betts and the Dodgers are closing in on an extension for at least 10 years and $350 million, per sources. @LouMerloni was on it first.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 22, 2020
Looming Betts extension with Dodgers, first reported by @LouMerloni, will shatter belief that elite free agents would not get paid in potentially depressed market this winter. Seemingly would increase pressure on Phillies with Realmuto.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 22, 2020
Betts in 2020 is signed for $27 million, which in the pandemic-shortened season is pro-rated to $10 million. He would be a free agent after this year.
Early in summer camp, Betts didn’t seem too concerned about his pending free agency.
“Free agency is on the back burner. That will come. It’s nothing I’m really thinking about right now. The main concern is safety and health,” Betts said. “We haven’t gotten tests back. We don’t know who’s sick, and who’s not sick. There’s a lot going on that needs to be addressed, and free agency is not one of those things.”
It was Merloni who, in 2019, reported that Betts turned down a contract extension offer from the Red Sox worth $300 million over 10 years, which Betts addressed two weeks ago.
“I made the decision I made, and I’m not going to go back and question myself. I don’t really know what the market will be and what the market is,” Betts said. “We’ll just kind of cross that bridge when we get there.”
Sounds like the Dodgers are trying to make free agency a bridge too far for Betts.