Through the first few weeks of the offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been quiet on the front of adding more proven players to the mix. Manager Dave Robert had previously stated that the team would be in the business of adding “elite talent” to the roster ahead of the 2020 season. Still, there has yet to any significant movement beyond trade talks surfacing over the past couple of weeks.
But the rumor mill buzzed through again on Thursday with reports suggesting that Los Angeles is focused on acquiring Boston Red Sox All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts after discussions for Cleveland Indians star shortstop Francisco Lindor have subsided. With the front office remaining hesitant of pulling the trigger on a blockbuster trade, the Dodgers must hop on their chances of landing Betts.
Dodgers shifting over to Mookie Betts
During the winter meetings last month, the Dodgers missed out on the two biggest free agents, with pitcher Gerrit Cole signing with the New York Yankees and third baseman Anthony Rendon inking a deal with the Los Angeles Angels.
That has put the Dodgers squarely in the trade market to land an elite talent to help push them forward. Talks for Lindor have broken down with the Indians fixated on getting Gavin Lux back in return for the star shortstop. Los Angeles’ attention lies with Betts, whose availability appears to be the Red Sox attempting to shed salary while acquiring young talent.
It’s not often that a player like Betts becomes readily available, which the Dodgers need another proven bat to take a significant step forward toward competing for a World Series title. That may be the primary reason why they have moved towards acquiring the former AL MVP, which should be an all-out effort to land him this offseason.
Dodgers need willingness to depart from prospects
There’s no question that Los Angeles has developed one of the best farm systems in the league, which has seen them bring up numerous rising stars over the last few years.
That has seen the likes of Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, and Will Smith, among others, emerge as key contributors at the major-league level. However, the Dodgers have become a team with realistic World Series aspirations as their ultimate success is only determined by that.
The hesitation from the front office to hold on to promising talents like Lux is more than reasonable, but there are often sacrifices made to acquire proven star players. The opportunity to land a player of Betts caliber that is in the prime of his career that is already a multi-Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award winner should erase all uneasiness.
The former AL MVP has proven that he can be a significant factor with his bat while hitting with great success near the top of the batting order. Meanwhile, he’s firmly in the conversation as one of the best defensive outfielders in the league. Betts is the complete package player that nearly any team would make a hard push to land.
Dodgers must look at the bigger picture
Any trade the Dodgers commit, there will always be the risk of the prospects developing into star players down the line. However, the window to win a World Series with their current assembled talent could close at some point soon.
Betts’ addition gives the Dodgers another potential centerpiece in the puzzle that could keep that opportunity in front of them longer. Los Angeles does have the risk of the All-Star choosing to test the free-agent market next offseason, but the chance to win a World Series now should diminish any of those concerns.
Since Andrew Friedman came on board as the President of Baseball Operations for the organization, the team has often let situations like this slip in their hands. Simply put, an opportunity like this may present itself any time soon while their team is ready to contend for a World Series.