Before Tuesday night’s game, Mookie Betts was a win away from helping to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to the 2020 World Series Championship. He never thought he’d be here.
Betts, who helped beat the Dodgers in the 2018 World Series when he was still a member of the Red Sox, told David Ortiz in a virtual interview that Betts posted on Instagram that he never expected to leave Boston.
After Ortiz suggested Betts’ popularity could rival that of LeBron James in Los Angeles, Ortiz shifted topics.
“I got to tell you, Moo, it’s hard for me to see you in a Dodgers uniform, but you look good in a Dodgers uniform,” Ortiz said. “Did you ever think you were going to spend the next 12 years wearing a Dodgers uniform?”
Betts answered: “No, I initially thought I was going to be a Red Sox for life. But God always has a plan for things. I was just following what he was telling me to do.”
The Red Sox traded Betts and David Price, the pitching hero of the 2018 World Series for outfielder Alex Verdugo and prospects Jeter Downs, an infielder, and Connor Wong, a catcher.
While he was in Boston, Betts had indicated a strong desire to test the free agent market, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed the financial picture in Major League Baseball. Betts agreed to a 12-year, $365 million contract with the Dodgers that will likely take the 28-year-old outfielder to retirement.
The Red Sox were facing two concerns when they traded Betts.
1. They wanted to avoid penalties that would have come from having a payroll being over the Competitive Balance Threshold again. The Dodgers took on a chunk of Price’s remaining salary to get Betts.
2. They didn’t want to risk losing Betts as a free agent and get nothing back.
Betts has hit .284 in the postseason with a home run, seven RBIs and six stolen bases. He hit .292 with 16 home runs and 39 RBIs in the shortened regular season.
Verdugo, 24, led the Red Sox with a .308 average and hit six home runs with 15 RBIs in 53 games.