Los Angeles Dodgers – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-08-08T00:33:20Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Poll: Big-Budget Long-Term Payrolls]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=220157 2020-08-06T16:14:39Z 2020-08-06T16:06:51Z Looking at long-range payroll commitments, there’s a fairly sizable gap between the top-five spenders and the number six club (the Padres, at a total of $396MM). Here’s that top-five:

Rank Team Total
1 Angels $651.00
2 Yankees $612.00
3 Dodgers $533.36
4 Nationals $488.68
5 Phillies $488.50

That list isn’t remotely surprising. Some other deep-pocketed teams have pared back or simply not yet agreed to blockbuster extensions with existing stars. The handful of teams listed above have each recently agreed to monster contracts with one or more superstars.

Looking at a team’s future outlook involves quite a bit more than its contractual commitments. We’d want to consider controllable young talent, the prospect pool, and a wide variety of business factors in assessing which organization is best-situated for the long haul.

Here, though, we’ll just focus on the deals that are already locked in. First, I’ll re-list each of those five teams’ eexisting commitments. Then, you will vote for the one that you’d most prefer to have were you operating a large-budget franchise. (Click on the links to expand the image.)

The Angels feature two mid-prime superstars, including the greatest player of this generation.

The Yankees have an ace, a former MVP who could still return to his former glory, and a group of quality players.

The Dodgers had only limited future commitments until they struck a bold deal to keep one of the game’s best players.

The Nationals are all-in on high-grade rotation pieces.

The Phillies spent big to pluck high-end talent from division rivals.

Which is the best slate of contract commitments? (Poll link for app users; response order randomized.)

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dodgers Promote Zach McKinstry]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=219925 2020-08-05T18:28:10Z 2020-08-05T18:28:10Z The Dodgers have promoted utilityman Zach McKinstry to the active roster, per a club announcement. He’ll take the roster spot of southpaw Victor Gonzalez, who was optioned down.

It’s quite an achievement for the 25-year-old McKinstry, who entered the professional ranks as a 33rd-round draft pick back in 2016. He’ll give the Dodgers yet another versatile position player to plug in as game situations warrant.

McKinstry obviously wasn’t seen as a significant prospect when he was selected out of Central Michigan, where he showed excellent contact ability and plate discipline but little in the way of power. That profile shifted last year, as he turned in a cumulative .300/.366/.516 batting line with 19 long balls over 479 plate appearances between the Double-A and Triple-A levels.

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Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Latest On Mookie Betts]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=218885 2020-08-02T23:23:31Z 2020-08-02T23:23:03Z 6:23 pm: Betts’ finger has some swelling, but x-rays fortunately came back negative, manager Dave Roberts told reporters, including Ken Gurnick of MLB.com (Twitter links). He’s day-to-day.

5:41 pm: Mookie Betts was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh inning of this afternoon’s game against the Diamondbacks. The club since announced (Twitter link) that he is dealing with soreness in his left middle finger.

There’s no indication there’s particular cause for alarm, but it’s eye-opening whenever a player of Betts’ caliber leaves a game for health reasons. The superstar hasn’t played at quite his typical level to start his Dodger career, but there’s no questioning his importance to the organization both short and long term.

For now, the hope is surely that Betts will return to the field in short order. The Dodgers are in position to exercise all due caution given the strength of their roster. Edwin Ríos replaced Betts in the lineup today, perhaps indicating he’d be first in line for extra playing time should Betts need some time off.

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George Miller <![CDATA[Dodgers Activate Clayton Kershaw]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=218810 2020-08-02T22:00:29Z 2020-08-02T19:27:06Z The Dodgers have officially activated LHP Clayton Kershaw ahead of today’s game, the team announced. Right-hander Mitch White has been optioned to create a spot on the active roster. Kershaw is set to take the mound for the Dodgers this afternoon against the Diamondbacks.

Kershaw will make his season debut after missing his scheduled Opening Day start due to back tightness. He’ll be a timely addition to the Dodgers’ rotation not long after Alex Wood was forced to the 10-day injured list with a shoulder issue.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner is entering his age-32 season and is coming off a 2019 campaign that saw his end-of-year ERA climb above 3.00 for the first time since his rookie year in 2008. It’s a testament to Kershaw’s sheer dominance throughout his prime, and we mustn’t forget that even a slightly lesser version of Kershaw is still one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Last year, he garnered an eighth-place Cy Young finish after notching 189 strikeouts in 178 1/3 innings of work. As alluded to, he finished with a 3.03 ERA (a career year for plenty of pitchers), and his 2.1 BB/9 was the highest it’s been since 2012.

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George Miller <![CDATA[Dodgers Option Tony Gonsolin, Recall Mitch White]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=218265 2020-08-01T22:50:55Z 2020-08-01T18:17:55Z The Dodgers have made a change to their pitching staff, optioning right-hander Tony Gonsolin and recalling Mitch White from the team’s alternate training site, as reported by J.P. Hoornstra of the Orange County Register. White is poised to make his Major League debut.

White, a 25-year-old right-hander and former second-round selection, will likely get his first crack at the Major Leagues as a reliever after being brought up primarily as a starting pitcher. The California product was regarded by multiple outlets as a top-100 prospect in baseball prior to the 2018 season. Since then, he’s produced mixed results in the upper minors. After a down year in 2018, he spent last season between Double- and Triple-A, posting a cumulative 5.09 ERA. In 93 2/3 minor-league innings last year, he struck out 105 batters. In Triple-A, he appeared in 3 games as a reliever, a role in which he continued during the Arizona Fall League.

Gonsolin is yet another young, bright arm in the Dodgers organization. He started last night’s game against the Diamondbacks, tossing four scoreless innings and allowing just one hit. He’ll likely be given plenty of chances to pitch for Los Angeles this year, but the current roster was simply short one in the bullpen after Josh Sborz was optioned yesterday. Gonsolin was impressive as a rookie last year, posting a 2.93 ERA in his first 40 innings as a big leaguer. He’s been deployed both as a starter and reliever for the Dodgers.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dodgers To Activate Clayton Kershaw]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=217970 2020-07-31T22:34:27Z 2020-07-31T22:34:27Z The Dodgers will activate star lefty Clayton Kershaw, manager Dave Roberts told reporters including MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick (Twitter link). He’ll make his season debut on Sunday.

Kershaw had been sidelined to this point with back tightness. That’s not necessarily a major concern in and of itself, but the surefire future Hall of Famer has had particular troubles in that area over the years.

Thankfully, it seems this flare-up was a minor one. Kershaw, 32, has rather clearly declined in recent years. He was nevertheless capable of spinning 178 1/3 innings of 3.03 ERA ball in 2019.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Kershaw Nearing Return From Injured List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=217585 2020-07-31T13:12:38Z 2020-07-31T13:12:38Z
  • Clayton Kershaw could join the Dodgers’ rotation as soon as Sunday or Monday, manager Dave Roberts told reporters Thursday evening (link via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com). The three-time Cy Young winner and five-time NL ERA leader was scratched from his Opening Day start just hours before first pitch due to back tightness and replaced by rookie Dustin May. Since Kershaw hit the IL, the Dodgers have also lost Alex Wood, prompting them to bring up another young right-hander, Tony Gonsolin, to take the ball in tonight’s game. Kershaw tossed a bullpen session yesterday, and all indications right now are that his IL stint will be rather brief.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dodgers Designate Terrance Gore For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=217291 2020-07-30T23:16:35Z 2020-07-30T23:04:59Z The Dodgers announced Thursday that they’ve designated outfielder Terrance Gore for assignment and recalled lefty Victor Gonzalez from their alternate training site.

    Gore, 29, appeared in a pair of games with the Dodgers but didn’t get an at-bat, as he entered those contests as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement. That’s how things have gone in the bigs for much of Gore’s career. His blistering speed has made him a frequent pinch-running and defensive specialist, but he has just 77 plate appearances in parts of seven MLB seasons, including 2020. The Royals gave Gore a career-high 58 plate appearances last year, and he posted a solid .275/.362/.353 slash in that small sample. However, Gore carries a .213/.307/.269 slash in 492 Triple-A plate appearances.

    The 24-year-old Gonzalez will be making his MLB debut when he first gets into a game. He soared through three minor league levels last season, pitching to a combined 2.31 ERA with averages of 9.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9 through 89 2/3 frames along the way. Gonzalez regularly generates strong ground-ball rates and is considered to be among the Dodgers’ top 30 or so best prospects. He worked more in relief than in the bullpen last season, and although the Dodgers have had multiple injuries pop up in their rotation, it seems the ’pen is where Gonzalez will begin.

    Manager Dave Roberts announced to reporters today that right-hander Tony Gonsolin will get the starting nod tomorrow (Twitter link via J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group), so he’ll need to be recalled from the alternate training site tomorrow.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Predict The NL West Division Winner]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=216767 2020-07-30T11:23:37Z 2020-07-30T11:23:37Z With final roster decisions in the books and the 2020 season underway, it’s time to make some predictions. We’re polling the MLBTR readership on each of the game’s six divisions — though plenty more teams will crack the postseason under the rather inclusive new playoff qualification system. We’ve already surveyed the AL EastAL Central, AL WestNL Central, and NL East landscapes, so it’s time to wrap things up with the National League West.

    The Dodgers have owned this division for some time now and are perhaps more laden with star-level talent than ever with Mookie Betts on board. Then again, they may be more vulnerable than ever in a short-season format. There’s a nice assembly of talent on the Diamondbacks roster, which includes an elite young player in Ketel Marte and a sturdy slate of veterans now highlighted by intra-division transferee Madison Bumgarner. Then again, you could argue that the Padres have the greatest capacity to surprise with their own budding legend in Fernando Tatis Jr., still-youthful star Manny Machado, and a potential-laden rotation. The Rockies have an excellent core unit in their own right and perhaps have more upside than is generally recognized. And while the Giants don’t really appear primed to compete, they managed to do so last year and still have a lot of players with lofty established performance ceilings at the game’s highest level — even if it has been a few years.

    Which team do you think is going to take the division title? (Poll link for app users.)

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLB Suspends Joe Kelly, Dave Roberts]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=215759 2020-07-29T21:06:18Z 2020-07-29T21:04:43Z Major League Baseball has issued suspensions in the wake of last night’s bench-clearing action between the Dodgers and Astros. Los Angeles righty Joe Kelly was suspended for eight games and manager Dave Roberts received a single-game ban.

    Kelly will appeal his suspension, so it’s not going into effect right away. Roberts will go ahead and sit out this evening’s game. His counterpart, Astros skipper Dusty Baker, will be fined for what went down between the two clubs.

    In Kelly’s case, the league made several factual determinations that drove the decision. Kelly was deemed to have thrown “in the area of the head” and also to have “taunted” in a manner that spurred the clearing of the benches. The statement also noted that he had previously been suspended for such an incident.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dodgers Place Alex Wood On Injured List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=214915 2020-07-28T18:25:48Z 2020-07-28T17:04:55Z The Dodgers have shelved southpaw Alex Wood after he came down with shoulder inflammation. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by righty Josh Sborz.

    This is worrisome news from all quarters. Wood had hoped for a return to form after an injury-riddled 2019 showing, while the Dodgers have already had several health issues crop up elsewhere on the starting staff. David Price opted out of the 2020 season citing concern regarding the ongoing pandemic. Clayton Kershaw was scratched from his Opening Day start just hours before he took the hill and placed on the IL with a back issue. And the game at large can ill afford the rash of pitching injuries that seems to be cropping up after a quick ramp-up to competitive action.

    All that said, the Dodgers do still possess quite a bit of quality, healthy arms. Walker Buehler has emerged as one of the game’s elite starters, and Los Angeles can support him in the rotation with Ross Stripling, Julio Urias and top prospect Dustin May. Right-hander Tony Gonsolin was effective in last year’s debut campaign and looms in the team’s player pool, as do well-regarded prospects Josiah Gray and Mitchell White.

    Wood has battled injury troubles throughout his career, and it’s easy to forget just how effective he can be when he’s healthy and at his best. From 2015-17, the still-29-year-old Wood logged 364 1/3 frames for the Dodgers and registered a tidy 3.29 ERA (3.39 FIP) with 8.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 0.84 HR/9 and a 51.3 percent grounder rate.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Clayton Kershaw Expects To Make 2020 Debut Soon]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=212760 2020-07-25T00:41:45Z 2020-07-25T00:41:45Z Just hours before their season began Thursday, the Dodgers unexpectedly placed left-handed ace Clayton Kershaw on the injured list because of back stiffness. Fortunately for Los Angeles, though, it doesn’t appear Kershaw will be out for long. The 32-year-old threw from 90 feet Friday and offered a positive update on his status, telling Ken Gurnick of MLB.com and other reporters he’s optimistic that he’ll return soon.

    With Kershaw down for Thursday’s opener against the archrival Giants, the loaded Dodgers turned to right-hander Dustin May as their starter. The hard-throwing 22-year-old proceeded to turn in an effective performance with 4 1/3 innings of seven-hit, one-run ball, adding four strikeouts against zero walks in an 8-1 Dodgers romp.

    Of course, even though the Dodgers’ first game went well in Kershaw’s absence, there’s no question they’re a better team with the eight-time All-Star and three-time National League Cy Young winner in their rotation. Kershaw wasn’t at peak form last year, yet he still notched 178 1/3 innings of 3.03 ERA/3.86 FIP pitching with 9.54 K/9 and 2.07 BB/9.

    The Dodgers will be glad to welcome Kershaw back when he’s ready, but there’s no timeline for his return as of now. For the time being, then, May will continue to complement budding ace Walker Buehler, Ross Stripling, Julio Urias and Alex Wood in the Dodgers’ rotation.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dodgers Place Clayton Kershaw On Injured List, Recall Dustin May]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=211992 2020-07-23T22:33:36Z 2020-07-23T22:15:00Z The Dodgers announced that they’ve placed scheduled Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw on the injured list and recalled right-hander Dustin May from their alternate training site. The team has termed Kershaw’s injury as “back stiffness” and will surely provide more details in the near future. Kershaw had been slated to take the hill against the Giants just under four hours from now. May will take the ball in place of Kershaw tonight.

    Kershaw incurred his current injury in the weight room earlier this week, manager Dave Roberts tells reporters, adding that right now he’s unsure as to when the left-hander will be able to return (Twitter links via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com). May was made aware of the possibility of this switch last night, per the manager.

    With Kershaw suddenly and unexpectedly shelved, the Dodgers’ rotation will now consist of May, Walker Buehler, Ross Stripling, Julio Urias and Alex Wood. It’s still a talented group with plenty of intriguing option in reserve — Tony Gonsolin, Mitchell White and Josiah Gray among them — but it’s clearly a thinner group than anticipated just a few weeks ago when both Kershaw and David Price were still in the picture. That said, the ability to cultivate this type of depth is one of the reasons that the Dodgers have been so successful under the current front office regime.

    In turning the ball over to the 22-year-old May, Los Angeles will entrust the season’s first start to one of MLB’s premier pitching prospects. The 6’6″ May made his big league debut in 2019, pitching to a 3.63 ERA with a 32-to-5 K/BB ratio in 34 2/3 frames before adding 3 1/3 innings of one-run ball in the NLDS. A third-round pick back in 2016, May notched a combined 3.38 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019, including a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 frames in a supercharged Triple-A offensive environment.

    May is widely regarded to be one of the game’s 25 best overall prospects, so it’s not as though the Dodgers are simply crossing their fingers and hoping that a minor league call-up can hold his own while filling in for an injured star. May is expected to be a key part both of the team’s future and its success in 2020, although he’ll obviously be asked to contribute sooner than the organization had initially anticipated.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dodgers Select Terrance Gore, Option Dustin May]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=211519 2020-07-23T18:57:09Z 2020-07-23T16:08:41Z The Dodgers have made a few final roster decisions in advance of their opening contest, as reflected on their transactions page (h/t Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, on Twitter). Speedy outfielder Terrance Gore has been selected to the 40-man roster, while young righty Dustin May was optioned to the team’s alternative training site.

    It’s easy to see the merits of carrying a speed demon like Gore with expanded rosters early in the season. The 29-year-old has never hit much at any level, but he’s among the fastest players in recent MLB memory. Gore’s pinch-running prowess was on full display with the 2014-15 Royals World Series clubs, and he’ll give the Dodgers some additional range in the outfield should they wish to use him in that capacity as well. Gore seems like the type of player who may eventually be set to alternate camp when the roster is trimmed to 28 and eventually 26 players, but he’ll give the club a unique weapon off the bench early in the year.

    As for May, he’ll head to alternate camp to continue getting some work in while the Dodgers rely on a more experienced starting staff that features Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Alex Wood, Ross Stripling and Julio Urias. There are some obvious potential service time benefits to sending May down to begin the year, but given that he already accrued more than a third of a season of service last year, that might not be the sole motivation. He’d need to spend several weeks in the minors to fall shy of a full year and extend the club’s control over him.

    May, 22, is considered one of the game’s premier prospects and turned in a 3.63 ERA with a 32-to-5 K/BB ratio in 34 2/3 frames as a rookie in 2019. He maintains that rookie status into 2020.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dodgers Extend Mookie Betts]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=210670 2020-07-23T00:31:15Z 2020-07-23T00:24:19Z 7:24pm: Betts’ contract includes a massive $65MM signing bonus, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (via Twitter). The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract contains $115MM in deferrals, and the salaries are backloaded such that Betts will be paid $17.5MM in 2021 and 2022. There are no opt-outs in the deal, which does not come with a no-trade clause, per Rosenthal.

    4:01pm: Mookie Betts is a Dodger for the long haul. The team announced this afternoon that Betts has signed a 12-year extension through the 2032 season. It’ll reportedly guarantee him a whopping $365MM in new money on top of this year’s $27MM salary (which has been prorated to $10MM due to the shortened 2020 season). Betts is represented by the VC Sports Group.

    Mookie Betts | Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    The contract represents the largest amount of new money ever promised to a Major League player on an extension or free-agent signing, topping Mike Trout’s previous highwater mark of $360MM (over a shorter 10-year term). Trout was already signed at two years and $66.5MM, so his total of 12 years and $426.5MM tops Betts’ 13-year, $392MM figure, but the $365MM new-money benchmark is a notable record nevertheless.

    The Betts extension, somewhat remarkably, marks the first time that the Dodgers have guaranteed in excess of $100MM to a player under president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. Though the team is known for its enormous — at times seemingly limitless — spending capacity, the Friedman regime has worked diligently to shed some prior undesirable commitments and creatively limbo underneath the luxury-tax bar. Doing so paved the way for the Dodgers to issue a historic contract to a premium talent.

    After missing out on a free-agent pursuit of Gerrit Cole this winter, the team shifted its focus to acquiring Betts, who came to L.A. alongside David Price in a blockbuster trade that sent Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong to Boston. There was plenty of talk about the team’s hope for extending Betts, but he’d been outspoken about his desire to test the open market. Paired with the economic uncertainty stemming from this year’s unprecedented revenue losses, there was real reason to wonder whether a deal would get done.

    Perhaps that economic turmoil made Betts more amenable to taking a deal now rather than testing the market, or perhaps he was simply willing all along to sign if a team exceeded Trout’s new-money guarantee. His exact thinking likely won’t ever be fully known, but the end result is that Betts now appears poised to spend the remainder of an already excellent career in Dodger blue.

    Still just 27 years of age, Betts has produced at star-caliber levels since a 52-game MLB debut back in 2014. A career .301/.379/.519 hitter, Betts is already a four-time All-Star, a three-time Silver Slugger winner, a former American League MVP and batting champion, and a four-time Gold Glove winner. He’s clubbed 139 home runs and swiped 126 bases in 794 Major League games, showing off an impressive blend of power and speed, and his 13.5 percent walk rate over the past two seasons is nearly the same as his paltry 14.5 percent strikeout rate. Add in that Betts is regarded as an otherworldly defender — he’s third among all players in Defensive Runs Saved since 2015, regardless of position — and it’s easy to see why Betts is regarded among the game’s elite players.

    The Dodgers already boasted at least one of those elite talents: reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger. Betts and Bellinger will pair to form what could be baseball’s best one-two punch for at least the next four seasons, as Bellinger is controlled through at least the 2023 season. Out-of-nowhere slugger Max Muncy is also inked through the ’23 campaign on a highly reasonable three-year, $26MM pact, so that trio should continue thriving in the heart of the order for the foreseeable future. The hope is that rising young talents like infielder Gavin Lux and catcher Will Smith will add to that long-term core. Looking shorter-term, the Dodgers are stacked with above-average contributors, including Corey Seager (controlled through 2021), Justin Turner (through 2020), Chris Taylor (through 2021) and Enrique Hernandez (through 2020).

    From a payroll and luxury-tax standpoint, the Dodgers can afford to both sign Betts and still pursue a megadeal with Bellinger, should they see fit. Betts’ contract comes with a $30.4MM annual luxury hit (or $30.1MM, if they roll it into the current deal), which is sizable but still only represents about a seventh of next year’s $210MM luxury cap. (That number could well rise in 2021 CBA negotiations, too.) Los Angeles already has more than $152MM in luxury commitments on the 2021 books, including this new deal for Betts, but that number plummets to $73MM in 2022. Betts is the only Dodger on a guaranteed deal for the 2023 season (although Bellinger, Walker Buehler and Julio Urias will all be arbitration-eligible).

    With today’s agreement, Betts, Bellinger and Buehler look like the long-term faces of the Dodgers franchise, though the club has boundless young talent, a knack for high-profile trades and as previously noted, plenty of money to spend even with Betts pulling in more than $30MM on an annual basis. The Dodgers have won seven straight NL West titles, and the Betts deal is a strong step toward continuing that trend. That, of course, won’t be enough to satisfy Betts, though. As the star put it during today’s introductory press conference: “I’m here to win some rings.”

    WEEI’s Lou Merloni reported earlier today that Betts was closing in on an extension worth more than $300MM. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported the agreement and the terms just prior to the team’s announcement (Twitter thread).

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