After an NL leading 106 wins in 2019, (that broke a franchise record) the Dodgers decided that they still needed to add to an already dangerous team that was returning with its core. They swung a deal with the Boston Red Sox and acquired David Price along with arguably the second-best player in the game.
Of course, Mookie Betts was only a rental until President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, realized Betts was the player he was waiting for to open the club’s wallet. And so the eve before Opening Day, it was announced that the Dodgers and Mookie Betts had reached a deal on a 12-year, $365 million extension. While many fans were gratified by the news, there were those (even to this day) that were displeased. Fans have a right to hold such high expectations for a superstar who just signed a lucrative contract, but while Mookie’s numbers haven’t been eye-opening, he’s proving he’ll live up to what he’s worth.
A .279 batting average accompanied by 4 home runs and 10 RBIs may not seem like superstar caliber numbers across 18 games, especially for a career .301 hitter. However, Mookie seemed to have heard the doubters as he homered not once, not twice, but three times in Thursday’s clobbering of the San Diego Padres. Overall he finished the night 4-4 with 3 home runs, raising his average to .319 with 7 home runs and 15 RBIs.
Triple threat. pic.twitter.com/c6amEhzF0F
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) August 14, 2020
While launching balls out of the stadium is always a good sign, it’s the smaller things that separate a good baseball player from a great one. Even though Mookie wasn’t producing at the plate early on in the season, he did so in other ways that proved his value. Whether it be his flawless defense and cannon for an arm or smart base running that has gotten him into scoring position. He’s even offered help to his teammates in any way possible such as telling Ross Stripling he was tipping his pitches during an intrasquad game.
Mookie Betts has a ROCKET for an arm @Starting9
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) August 1, 2020
Accompany those smaller things that not everyone notices and pair that to his ability to hit; you have the making of a superstar. Yes, this is only a small sample size during his time with the Dodgers but there’s no doubt he can continue his production. Just imagine what he can do with 12 more seasons. Long term contacts don’t always end well for either party but Mookie is a true athlete and should make an impact for years to come. When the Dodgers signed Mookie, they weren’t just getting a consistent threat in their lineup but a leader, a teammate, a catalyst, and a man who should earn every cent of his contract.