Good morning, Athletics Nation!
One of the MLB teams hurt most by the coronavirus pandemic was supposed to be the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Before the season they swung a massive win-now trade to acquire one year of superstar Mookie Betts, only to spend months wondering if the whole campaign would get canceled and he would become a free agent next winter without ever playing a game in their uniform. Even with a 60-game schedule, they would only get a fraction of the time they’d hoped for with him, while still being stuck with a couple expensive years of David Price in 2021-22 that they took on as a salary dump.
All of that is no longer a problem. Betts will stay with the Dodgers after 2020 after all, very possibly for the rest of his career. The two sides agreed to a gargantuan 12-year contract extension on Wednesday that will run from 2021 through 2032, the team announced. Betts will receive $365 million on top of his existing 2020 salary, reports Jeff Passan of ESPN, which sets a new MLB record for most new money on a deal.
The previous record was held by another Southern California outfielder, Mike Trout of the Angels. The three-time MVP inked a $360 million extension before the 2019 season, though that deal was for only 10 seasons and thus holds higher annual value. Among other salary records, Bryce Harper’s $330 million contract is the largest ever for a free agent, and Gerrit Cole’s $324 million this past winter is the most for a pitcher.
Speaking of Trout, the Angels outfielder announced on Wednesday that he will officially play in the 2020 season, reports Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic. He had publicly expressed his uncertainty over the last few weeks about whether he might opt out, especially with his wife due to give birth during the season, but for now he’s going for it — with the caveat that a further outbreak could cause him to reevaluate. Even with the A’s facing the Angels 10 times this year, this is still excellent news, because Trout is the best player in baseball and the sport is better with him in action.
As for Betts, the A’s face his Dodgers three times this summer in interleague play (in late September), though that was going to happen regardless of whether he signed an extension. They also play the NL West in 2021 interleague, including three against the Dodgers for their second series of the season from April 5-7, so now he’ll be around for that too.
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MLB News, & Interest:
- Shea: First female coach earns start in Giants’ final tuneup before season ($)
- Gurnick: Dodgers sign Mookie Betts to 12-year deal
- Leitch: 10 takeaways from experts’ 2020 predictions
- MLB: Every team’s keys to success in 2020
- Clair: The weirdest Opening Day games in history
- Today in Baseball History
Best of Twitter:
Hot take: This would essentially eliminate any shred of meaning that the 2020 regular season has left
Sources: MLB and union are re-engaging on the possibility of expanded playoffs for this season. Has to be done before first pitch 25 hours from now, but there seems to be optimism. Hope was to go from 10 playoff teams to 16.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 22, 2020
Just a stunningly terrible idea
If MLB, PA agree to a 16-team playoff field for 2020, that likely means, given the calendar limits, that the first round would be best-of-three. The heavy favorites, Dodgers and Yankees, might be playing for their lives right away.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 22, 2020
HARRISBURG _ The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced today that it will not allow the Toronto Blue Jays to play their shortened 2020 season at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. https://t.co/ofArj5fsws— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP) July 22, 2020
Congrats to an Athletics Nation favorite!
My favorite story line this season so far is @TommyMilone_33 getting the Opening Day start for the Orioles. He’s someone that everyone should be rooting for!— Trevor Plouffe (@trevorplouffe) July 22, 2020
Mariners will begin the season without their starting catcher, who is also coincidentally named Murphy
Jerry Dipoto just revealed on the @ROOTSPORTS_NW broadcast that Tom Murphy has a broken bone in his foot and will start the season on Tuesday IL. Doesn’t think it will take long to heal but doesn’t want Murphy to rush coming back— Jen Mueller (@JenTalksSports) July 23, 2020
Seattle is also without reliever Austin Adams, who posted 53 strikeouts in 32 innings last year
Austin Adams won't be on the opening day roster. The Mariners admitted they pushed him a little quick in summer camp. They are waiting to make sure his surgically repaired knee is 100 percent. He hasn't pitched in a game in about a week— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 22, 2020
AL West division rival Opening Day roster
The Rangers opening day roster: pic.twitter.com/UFVUnRrb7Q— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) July 23, 2020
As excited as I am about the start of the regular season, I think it's finally sinking for me in that there won't be a minor-league season running at the same time. Doesn't feel the same.— Melissa Lockard (@melissalockard) July 22, 2020
Barry Zito’s MLB debut, 20 years ago yesterday!
It's been 20 years since I got called up to pitch against the Anaheim Angels in the Oakland Coliseum. Seems like another lifetime. Glad we get to watch baseball starting tomorrow!#weneedbaseball pic.twitter.com/c7JZn97nSR— Barry Zito (@barryzitomusic) July 23, 2020
So the year 2020 started, then yadda yadda yadda, then ...
lol imagine seeing this graphic on a broadcast a year ago and trying to parse it pic.twitter.com/PvoU9mv7KZ— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) July 23, 2020
Nico doesn’t have Twitter so we’re gonna have to relay the 50 legendary puns he comes up with for this