Teams Trimming Expenses
Do you want the good news or the bad news, baseball fans? Most want to take the bitter pill right away and look forward to any salve that might follow. Well, let’s go the other way around because the latter will be far more interesting than the former.
The good news is that the 2020 MLB season will reach its ultimate goal of not only completing a regular season, albeit truncated, but a postseason as well. The Rays and the Dodgers will have at it starting on Tuesday night when Game 1 of the World Series is played. If you are the kind to put your money where your mouth is, then you might want to know that the MLB odds on this, and all the games, can be found at GTbets.
The bad news is that this offseason will likely be devoid of any of the seismic deals that prompt teams to turn from pretenders to immediate contenders with the stroke of a signature. And while the lack of player movement will remove some of the fun for fans who love to listen to the hot stove rumors that inevitably swirl in the offseason, it’s far more devastating for the players entering the free agency market in 2020.
The big market franchises like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, et al, have likely lost somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million this season while the smaller market teams will be about $100 million light, as there will be little to no revenue to share after the global pandemic wreaked havoc on professional sports in general, with baseball being no exception.
“Those revenues we will never recover,” said one team exec, “but what’s most concerning to all of us is the unknown about 2021. We don’t know when, if or how many fans we’re going to be allowed in the seats, so how do you go about determining revenues and payrolls?”
Mookie Avoids Disaster
If you watched any of the NLCS then you know how good Mookie Betts is in the field, not to mention his prolific bat. At the age of 27, Betts is in the midst of his physical peak and inked a 12-year, $365 million extension to remain with the Dodgers after eschewing the $300 million offer the Red Sox were prepared to deliver before he forced their hand.
From Salem to the Show! A couple of former Sox square off in Texas and one is going home with a World Series ring. Who ya got, @manuelmargot or @mookiebetts?#WorldSeries #WorldSeries2020 pic.twitter.com/w6kwMnlDUH
— The Salem Red Sox (@salemredsox) October 19, 2020
Had Betts not agreed to the monumental pact in July and truly wanted to test the free agency waters, he could very well be sitting with a sizeable one-year offer. However, he would be another year older and closer to 30, the death knell for many professional athletes. Yet, the Dodgers knew what they were getting in Betts and would not be dissuaded by the global pandemic despite the impending financial bath they were about to take this season.
“This just speaks to the faith we have in things getting back to normal,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “Obviously this is over a much longer period of time, which helped in that the confidence is really high once we get through this. Fortunately, when you go 12 years, you’ve got nothing but time.”
The economic uncertainty undeniably played a part in Betts’ decision to remain a Dodger and some believe that LA saved money on the contract because of it. We will never know for sure but one thing we do know is that Betts posted the following numbers between 2016 and 2019: a .305 batting average, a .917 OPS, an average of 29 home runs, 94 RBI, and 122 runs scored per season. And the fact that his defensive tools are as prodigious as his offensive skill set makes Betts one of the best baseball players in the world today.
“The market wasn’t what I was worried about,” Betts said. “Just fair value. That’s been my No. 1 thing for my whole career is just the value, and that’s it. Once we got to that point, in being somewhere I loved being, it was a match just perfect.”
The Dodgers have not won a World Series since 1988 but they are now on the brink of greatness with another bite at the apple this year. Los Angeles swung and missed in 2017 when they bowed to the Astros in seven games. They followed that up in 2018 with another near-miss when the Red Sox vanquished their dreams in five games.
Perhaps Betts will bear dividends in his inaugural season with Big Blue, and if a World Series title does make its way to the City of Angels, then you can be sure Mookie played a big role in its return.