Dodgers fans got a little bit of good news earlier today with the hopeful June start date, but now some bad news. Major League Baseball relented on the issue of service time with the players, paving the way for Mookie’s free agency after 2020.
2/Mookie Betts, JT Realmuto, James Paxton, Marcus Stroman would get a full year of service and be free agents. Someone like Francisco Lindor would get a full year and move from 2 years from free agency to 1 despite not playing in 2020. Why did MLB relent?
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) March 25, 2020
The player’s union pushed to make sure that regardless of whether or not games were played this year, players would receive credit for the year. For Mookie Betts, he has one year until he is able to enter free agency. This decision would essentially make it so that Betts would not have to play a single game for the Dodgers if the league calls off the season.
It seems unlikely that the entire season would be called off, but anything is on the table at this point. Joel Sherman, an MLB Network Insider, gave his opinion on why MLB relented on the issue.
1.Think it is a bad look to be fighting over $/service now with country in such bad shape. 2. Are hopeful games will be played and this is a non-issue. 3. Without revenue this year, free agency is unlikely to be lucrative next year for anyone except maybe Betts/Realmuto
If games were called off and ff the Dodgers were to lose Mookie in free agency, that trade would suddenly look awful. Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, and Connor Wong for essentially David Price and some cash. A trade that was widely regarded as being heavily in favor of the Dodgers would suddenly become a complete bust.
Dodgers fans have to be hoping that this wasn’t all for not. It still seems very unlikely that the league would completely call off the entire season, for what it’s worth. Betts had a limited showing in Spring Training after getting food poisoning early on in camp.