Mookie Betts could be staying in Los Angeles for the long term, with rumors indicating that the Dodgers are close to locking down the All-Star outfielder with a “monster” extension that would be among the largest in baseball history.
As Yahoo Sports reported, the team is believed to be ironing out the details of a contract that would give Betts somewhere between $350 million and $400 million over the course of 10 years or more. The report noted that Betts appeared to be headed to free agency after his coronavirus-shortened season with the Dodgers, where he was once expected to command somewhere close to the deal he’s reportedly close to signing now, though that number was expected to go down due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
As NBC Sports reported last month, the former Boston Red Sox star could have lost up to one-third of that over the course of his deal due to a range of factors.
“Hall of Fame writer Peter Gammons has already posited that Betts will be lucky to make $250 million, but in conversations with league executives, even that number feels high,” the report noted. “The dual whammy of the pandemic and looming CBA negotiations suggests this coming winter will be a free agent wasteland.”
That situation would have been a major setback for Betts, who reportedly turned down a $300 million extension offer from the Red Sox last season, believing he could command more on the open market. While at the time it appeared to be a calculated risk — especially after Mike Trout signed a $430 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Angels and Manny Machado inked a $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres — the unexpected impact of the coronavirus looked to have wiped that out for Betts. While the full financial impact is not yet known, teams are expected to lose significant revenue this year with the length of the season slashed and games being played with no fans in the stands.
But it now appears the Dodgers are willing to pay above what may have been the market price to lock down the former American League MVP, who was traded in February.
The exact dollar amount of the current extension hasn’t been pinned down, but Bleacher Nation and others called it a “monster” deal and would make Betts the centerpiece of a team that has been a perennial title contender. It was also not clear when Los Angeles could be completing the negotiations. Opening Day for the Dodgers comes on Thursday, when it hosts the San Francisco Giants to kick off the shortened season.