He was the headline of a major trade that sent him to L.A. from the Boston Red Sox.
While in Boston, Betts established himself as one of the best all-around players in the MLB.
He was a four-time All-Star in this time and a yearly Gold Glove winner.
In 2018, he also won the MVP award while leading the Red Sox to a World Series title.
It is no wonder, then, why Betts commanded much interest as he approached his first season eligible for free agency in 2021.
However, the Dodgers were swift to act.
After trading for the right fielder, they inked him to a 12-year, $365 million contract.
Mookie Betts, Dodgers agree to 12-year contract extension that will keep him in LA through the 2032 season. pic.twitter.com/zLFOMc9wYE
— MLB (@MLB) July 22, 2020
While it is indisputable that Betts is deserving of the pay, questions linger about whether it was too large of a contract or not.
Here are three reasons that the extension is a proper amount for the superstar.
1. Betts Is Elite Offensively
In all facets of the game, Betts is one of baseball’s best.
He has already stood out above most other players in his short time in the league.
In his seven seasons, he has already amassed 1,029 hits, 155 home runs and a .301 batting average.
His most notable year was in 2018, when he posted a league leading .346 batting average with 32 home runs and 30 stolen bases.
Though he is not the most imposing figure standing at just 5-foot-9, he packs a punch.
He can slide around in the batting order and provide production from anywhere.
This is especially important for a loaded Dodgers lineup, as he can play whatever role the team needs filled.
Because of this, his offensive production is a critical part of a team’s success.
There are few others in the league that can match that output, so Betts is worth the money because of that.
2. He’s Even Better Defensively
For as many contributions that Betts makes offensively, he is arguably even better on defense.
He has already won five Gold Gloves in each of the last five seasons.
His range in right field is almost unmatched in the league, and he has a sneakily strong arm.
Throws like this are a clear example:
This throw by Mookie Betts is so satisfying to watch pic.twitter.com/xWqoX6ij08
— Kent (@RealKentMurphy) August 1, 2020
In an age where these statistics are able to be quantified, the value of having such an adept defender becomes clear.
He can single-handedly save runs compared to other options in the outfield.
Then, when you add his hitting ability on top of that, you have one of the sport’s best players.
3. When Compared To Others, His Contract Looks Good
While the sheer numbers of Betts’ contract may seem off-putting, it actually fits in well with the rest of the league.
Mookie Betts is tied for the most 3-homer games (6) EVER.
He is 27. 😱 pic.twitter.com/2afkUF2qNb
— MLB (@MLB) August 14, 2020
The Dodgers structured the deal so that the pay would be backloaded.
This means that his pay progressively increases as he gets deeper into his contract.
In 2021, he is just representing a salary hit of $22.5 million.
Of course, the peak of his pay is $35 million, but the Dodgers won’t have to deal with that until the end of the 2020s.
In the context of MLB salaries, he will be tied for the 24th highest paid player in the league for 2021.
A good player to compare Betts’ contract to would be Bryce Harper.
Harper signed a 13-year, $330 million contract prior to 2019.
Betts’ isn’t much more than that, and he has been a much more productive player on both sides of the ball.
Part of this deal also aims to predict the market.
In five years, a salary of $35 million may seem relatively low for one of the game’s brightest stars.
The current trends support this idea.
If Betts continues his level of play for much of his contract, we may look back on it and say that the team may have even underpaid.
Reason To Be Cautious With Betts
The biggest worry for Betts will be how he holds up over the course of that 12-year contract.
While he has been mostly healthy throughout his career, it can be tough for smaller players to perform at a high level for a long time.
Many Red Sox fans will instantly think of Dustin Pedroia with this.
While Betts is certainly more athletic, there is fear that he will break down as he ages.
Because of this, while he deserves the amount of money, he may not have deserved the years.
It is impossible to knock Betts’ play on the field, so it must be a look to the future to bring him down instead.
However, if he can continue to be healthy and put up his numbers, he will easily be remembered as one of this generation’s best.
Betts has already made his mark on the sport too, winning two championships in his young career.
THE JOB IS FINISHED!!!!! This one's for you LA – the City of Champions! Enjoy the hell out of it, but you know these boys aren't done chasing rings!!! pic.twitter.com/rifShjVtke
— Mookie Betts (@mookiebetts) October 28, 2020
It likely won’t be the last we see of him in October either.
There is no doubt that Betts is one of the best players in all of the MLB.
He deserves to be paid as such.