first_imgI guess not.On Tuesday night the Dodgers went deep. Upper-deck deep.The flurry of trades that brought 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts to Los Angeles changed the trajectory of the offseason, and maybe changed the trajectory of 2020 in its entirety.This is big, and it is nervy, given that (a) Betts is determined to be a free agent after this season regardless, and (b) the Dodgers made this trade without getting a negotiating window first to see if Betts would be willing to sign an extension.Why should he? Betts will get Mike Trout-level money, or maybe even more, from somebody next winter. If that’s the case, it means he’s done his job here. And if he’s helped bring the Dodgers a championship parade in the process, their fans should be OK with whatever happens. And if you’re thinking this is similar to the way the Lakers are rolling the dice with Anthony Davis knowing that he’ll be a free agent this summer … well, let’s give all of our local teams credit for thinking high risk, high reward instead of staying timid. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts promised it two months ago, during a conversation with the media at the Winter Meetings in San Diego.“I think that you’ve got to shuffle the deck sometimes,” he said. “…  I think that you don’t ever want to get stagnant and complacent.“I think this is probably the most turnover we’ll have from one season to the next. I think that’s fair.”At the time, we interpreted that conversation as a harbinger of big news during the meetings. It didn’t happen then, didn’t happen through December, didn’t happen through January, and had a restive Dodger fan base even grumpier than usual. The assumption was that Andrew Friedman and his immediate boss, Stan Kasten, cared more about room under the luxury tax than winning a World Series. For the moment, incidentally, we will set aside talk of whether Betts had undue assistance in that 2018 season while leading the league in runs (129), batting average (.346) and slugging percentage (.640) and WAR (10.9) and registering a 1.078 OPS and 186 OPS+.His WAR is 33.8 the last four years. Trout’s in that span is 35.6. So if we stipulate that Trout, the 2019 AL MVP, is the game’s best player, Betts is in the conversation.(And can we also stipulate that summer evenings in SoCal will be even more dynamic than before, with three of the game’s last four MVPs playing for the home teams?)There is another factor here. Friedman and club president Stan Kasten really do hear the voices of the fans. It’s fair to assume – heck, Kasten all but came out and said it – that they’re sick and tired of the assumption that they care less about winning a World Series than the fans do. This move should put that meme to rest for a while.And Friedman accomplished this without touching the club’s very best prospects, as he has done consistently in major deals. Middle infielder Gavin Lux and hard-throwing right-hander Dustin May are still Dodgers, as are the top prospects lower in the system.To do that required taking on most, if not all, of the three years and $96 million remaining on David Price’s contract. Price is not the pitcher he was when he signed that contract before the 2016 season. But if healthy – and he hasn’t been completely so the last two years – he still can be a serviceable left-hander in a rotation that will look much different in 2020, with Hyun-Jin Ryu in Toronto and Kenta Maeda and the recuperating Rich Hill in Minnesota.So yes, there’s been some serious deck shuffling. Fan favorites have been sent elsewhere. It will be weird seeing Verdugo in a Red Sox uniform, and stranger seeing Joc Pederson in Angels red. (Can we assume the Dodgers will be setting up their rotation to throw all left-handers during the two Freeway Series in July and August?)However, before we announce that the Dodgers won the offseason and anoint them the favorites to end that 32-year championship drought, one caution. Until proven otherwise, the bullpen will remain the subject of so much fan angst. A Blake Treinen returning to anywhere close to his 2018 form may yet be the most crucial acquisition of the Dodgers’ offseason, Betts or no Betts.But hey, maybe Mookie can pitch, too. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *