Update (7:35 PM, Bill Baer): The deal is official. It’s for 12 years and, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, worth $365 million. $115 million of that will be deferred and another $65 million will come in the form of a signing bonus, which won’t be taxed. The contract does not include any opt-outs nor a no-trade clause.
11:58 AM: A “massive” Mookie Betts-Dodgers contract extension is reportedly imminent.
The first to report advanced talks between the two sides was Lou Merloni of WEEI in Boston, who reported this morning that Betts and the Dodgers are on the verge of a contract for 10-plus years worth between $350-400 million. Then, a few minutes ago ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that Betts and the Dodgers “are deep into negotiations on a long-term contract.” Passan says that the deal is not yet done but that “Betts will be signing a massive deal with the Dodgers in the coming days.”
Betts was traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Dodgers in February along with David Price in exchange for Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, and Connor Wong. While Verdugo has a bright future and Downs and Wong are not chopped liver the deal, from Boston’s perspective, was basically a salary dump, as they endeavored to get the club below the Competitive Balance Tax threshold for the 2020 season by shedding Price’s and Betts’ salaries. Once the season was delayed due to COVID-19 and then shortened to a mere 60 games, it was feared that the Dodgers would nonetheless get the short end of the deal, what with Betts’ being eligible for free agency following the season, thereby depriving Los Angeles of his services almost completely.
A new Mookie Betts-Dodgers contract, however, would end all of that worry. It would have the 27-year-old Betts in Los Angeles for a go-for-it-all run in 2020, yes, but it would keep him there into his late 30s.
Betts, 27, hit .295/.391/.524 with 29 home runs, 80 RBI, 135 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases across 706 plate appearances in Boston last season, making him worth 6.6 Wins Above Replacement according to FanGraphs. That was the ninth-best mark in baseball and fifth-best in the AL. Over the course of his six-year MLB career he has hit .301/.374/.519 and has averaged 28 homers and 96 RBI per 162 games. He won the 2018 AL MVP Award with an outstanding season in which he posted a 1.078 OPS, leading the league in batting average and slugging percentage, and a staggering fWAR of 10.4.
Betts is slated to make $27 million this year, his final year of arbitration. Whether that will be torn up or incorporated into the new deal will be revealed soon.