Mookie got the bag.
Good for him, man. Honestly. He wasn't a first-rounder. He went from a fifth-round pick that was a second baseman in the Red Sox system, a name that was floated around in trade rumors back in the day for Cole Hamels when Boston needed a starter, came up to play an entirely new position because he was blocked at his natural position, became the best player in the game at said position, an MVP, a Gold Glover and a World Series champion. Then he got dealt because the team that drafted and developed him had backed themselves into a financial corner, only to get breaded the fuck up by the heavy weight champions of the National League.
And before you say anything about the Dodgers not winning a World Series since 1988, that's not the point I'm making here. Baseball executives around the league wish they were the Dodgers, ring or not. This is a team that is in a big market, has prospects out the ass, major league ready talent for days, haven't lost a division title since 2012 and there's no end in sight for their reign. They're the blueprint for sustained success in Major League Baseball. When old stars fade out, they bring in new stars whether that's via the draft, trades or free agency. They just make shit happen and that's exactly what they've done here with Mookie Betts.
They identified a star player, which in fairness wasn't very difficult to do, and then they made sure that star wasn't going anywhere for the duration of his career. It pains me to say this, but Betts will go into Cooperstown some day wearing a Dodgers cap. He'll be remembered as a Dodger. That's crazy. It's crazy because in a game where teams are scared to back up the money truck for aging talent, Mookie fit the exact description for the type of player you should absolutely slide a blank check to. A young, superstar talent, who's also a proven winner. That's the guy you give all the money to. And the Dodgers just did that.
I wrote about it earlier that Dave Dombrowski is the guy to blame here if you're a Red Sox fan. The financial troubles for Boston can be traced back to the Chris Sale extension and the Nathan Eovaldi free agent contract. Can't blame Chaim Bloom for this. He came in and was given an impossible task -- shed payroll while also competing. It's not impossible, but it's close to it. His hands were tied when he dealt Mookie to LA to free up the payroll flexibility to get under the luxury tax. The goal was obviously to get under the luxury tax and then make another run at Mookie in free agency, but Bloom was never afforded the opportunity to do that because Betts agreed to this deal without ever getting to free agency.
I'm trying to look at this from Mookie's perspective and it's hard to argue against his decision. It was obvious throughout his years in Boston that he wasn't going to take less than what he was worth, and who could ever blame him for that? The Red Sox never ponied up market value for their franchise player. Sure, there's plenty of appeal when considering playing this season out and seeing what's out there, but like I said -- LA is the place to be right now. They've won for a while, they're ready to win now, and they're gonna keep winning for a long time with what's in the pipeline.
We did the Starting 9 season preview episode today, and I had the Dodgers winning the division, Mookie Betts winning the MVP which would mean back-to-back Dodgers winning the award. I had Walker Buehler as my 1B pick to Jack Flaherty's 1A for National League Cy Young, and then the Rookie of the Year was a toss-up between Gavin Lux and Dustin May. You mean to tell me the Dodgers have this massive track record of success, all the talent in the world right now, they've got more on the way, AND they're gonna meet my salary demands? What more could you want? Sign me the fuck up.
So, congrats to Mookie. He deserves every penny. Obviously sad to see him go for good this time. Wish he would've stayed in a Red Sox uniform forever, but I get it. I do. I wish him nothing but the best in LA.