LOS ANGELES—Outfielder Mookie Betts, 27, inked a new deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, July, 22 signing an extension with the ball club for 12 years, at $365 million, despite not playing a single game with the team yet.
“I love being here. I love everything about here and now I’m super excited for what’s to come,” said Betts during a press conference at Dodger Stadium. “I’m here to win some rings and bring championships back to LA, that’s all I’m focused on.”
With the new contract, the former MVP is slated to remain with the franchise until the 2032 season and avoids entering free agency this winter in a depleted and uncertain economic market. Betts noted that dodging the upcoming free-agent frenzy was not a concern when completing the extension.
“The market wasn’t what I was worried about, it’s just the fair value. That’s been my number one thing for my whole career. The value and that’s it. Once we got to that point and being somewhere that I love, it’s just a match that’s perfect,” said Betts.
The deal is the second largest-contract in baseball in terms of total dollars, trailing only Los Angeles outfielder Mike Trout, who will make $426.5 million over the same number of years. His deal is the eighth largest in the MLB in annual-salary, averaging $30.42 million per year.
Betts was traded to the Dodgers along with pitcher David Price from the Boston Red Sox on February 10, in a deal that sent away up and coming prospects Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong and Jeter Downs. Price opted out of the season on July, 4 as a precaution due to COVID-19.
Before the transaction, Betts initially signed on January 10 a one-year contract for $27 million with the Red Sox to avoid arbitration. Despite signing the deal, Boston still sought to trade their franchise player and Price to clear-up salary space on their roster. Due to the shortened season, Betts is slated to make only $10 million in prorated pay.
Talks for a contract extension between the Dodgers and the outfielder arose around March between the two parties, but those talks were suspended in light of the coronavirus changing the course of the season according to Andrew Friedman, President of Baseball Operations for the Dodgers.
During his career, Betts currently maintains a .301 batting average and contributed 470 RBIs. The right-handed hitter has 139 home runs for his career since debuting with Boston in 2014.
Betts will make his debut with the Dodgers on Thursday, July, 23 in the team’s opening day match-up against the San Francisco Giants at home. Betts made his last appearance at Dodger Stadium in October 2018, when the Red Sox won game five of the series and hoisted the World Series pennant.