The biggest splash of the offseason could wind up being totally worthless. That’s why the Dodgers need to re-sign Mookie Betts.
The Dodgers went for it all when they traded for Mookie Betts and David Price in February, sending away very promising, young assets like Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, and Connor Wong to Boston in the process.
There’s no turning back from that trade now. Verdugo is under control through the 2024 season and racked up an .817 OPS in his first legitimate big league season, and Downs is the Red Sox’s highest-rated prospect.
Downs can easily be a full-time player for the Red Sox as early as next year, while Verdugo is set to be the starting right fielder. Even though it looks like a rebuilding move for the Red Sox, they can still very much compete for a postseason spot.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, are set to lose Justin Turner, Blake Treinen, Joe Pederson, Mike Hernandez, and Alex Wood in free agency.
Oh, and Mookie Betts.
The Dodgers have been desperate for a ring in recent years — they’ve come up just short twice in the last three years. But if there is no baseball season, they need to prove that they were still serious about contending year in and year out.
And that’s why they need to re-sign Betts if there is no 2020 season.
Of course, it would be no surprise if the Dodgers re-signed him. They are in the market for every superstar, given their willingness to spend the big bucks and continue to chase their first title since 1988.
But given the current state of baseball, and the world, with this pandemic, it’s a legitimate thought that we could very well see an offseason similar to after the 2018 season, when teams were hesitant to take on stars and shell out the big bucks.
Teams have talked about lowering payroll substantially for next season, because they are losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars from the box office.
Of course, that probably is an advantage to the Dodgers.
But with money being apparently scarce in all of baseball, nothing should surprise us.
The Dodgers can’t just take a loss that easily, especially with all of their other players set to hit the market.
It’s not like the Dodgers have many options coming up, either. A.J. Pollock and Chris Taylor are not at the level of Betts and Pederson. Their highest rated outfield prospect is their 10th-best prospect, Luis Rodriguez, who is in rookie ball and won’t see the big leagues for a long time.
The outfield free agent class is alright, outside of Betts and Pederson. George Springer, Marcell Ozuna, Michael Brantley, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. are probably the next best guys out there. But replacing Betts with any of those guys is an obvious downgrade.
Mookie Betts will likely have a tough market in the winter. All the more reason for the Dodgers to keep their tabs on him.
But in a deal that is already practically lost, considering there is no baseball in mid-June, re-signing Betts needs to be the top item of the Dodgers’ offseason to-do list whether there is a season or not.