1:21pm: The new portion of Betts’ contract, once finalized, will guarantee him around 12 years and $350MM on top of this year’s $27MM salary, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link).
The structuring of the deal is in many ways semantics, but it’s worth noting that in terms of new money, Betts’ extension may not top the new money promised to Trout on his prior long-term deal. Referencing the Betts deal as a 13-year, $380MM contract may skew things such that it appears Betts has set a new record, but by that logic, Trout’s contract should be referred to as a 12-year, $426.5MM deal (i.e. the sum of his preexisting two years and $66.5MM and his 10-year, $360MM extension).
If the deal indeed lands Betts in the $380MM range over 13 years, including his 2020 salary, his contract then boils down to the second-richest ever promised to a big league player (whether looking at total guarantee or new money promised on an extension).
11:54am: Betts will top Trout’s deal if the contract is completed, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
It’s expected that the deal will actually cover twelve additional seasons, per Jeff Passan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The total forward-looking guarantee would top $380MM, Passan adds, including Betts’s salary for the 2020 season. (It’s not clear whether that tally includes Betts’s full $27MM or only the pro-rated portion thereof.)
10:42am: In a stunning development that would mark a massive shift in a moribund player market, the Dodgers appear to be closing in on a long-term extension with recently acquired star Mookie Betts. WEEI.com’s Lou Merloni hears that the sides are nearing agreement even as Betts prepares to don the Dodger blue for the first time tomorrow. Joel Sherman tweets that talks are indeed “quite real.”
If completed, the contract would cover a ten-year term and guarantee Betts somewhere in the neighborhood of $350MM to $400MM, according to the report. It sounds as if it would come in right near, if not over, the ten-year, $360MM Mike Trout pact that currently stands as the largest-ever MLB contract.
The Dodgers paid a significant price in prospects and took on a lot of salary (both for Betts and David Price) in order to secure just one season from the 27-year-old. It always seemed the team had designs on a lengthier relationship, though it wasn’t at all clear that vows would be exchanged before Betts hit the open market.
Until the paperwork is complete, Betts stands as the obvious top talent of the 2020-21 free agent class. As MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes explained in his pre-pandemic power rankings, Betts, who is represented by VC Sports Group, seemed situated to “reasonably seek a ten-year term with an average annual value in the $36-40MM range.”
Betts would have represented one of the most interesting-ever free agent cases. Recent market swings and upcoming collective bargaining negotiations provided a fascinating backdrop for the bidding on such a youthful, high-quality player. And then the coronavirus came along, overlaying broad uncertainty onto the situation.
It seems that both the Dodgers and Betts saw a path to limit the risk by striking a bargain now. They’ve certainly had time to get to know one another under trying circumstances over the past several months, even if Betts hasn’t yet recorded any stats for the storied ballclub.