If this Major League Baseball (MLB) season does not happen, the L.A. Dodgers might regret trading some of their top prospects away for former Boston Red Sox star outfielder Mookie Betts.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty in the world of professional sports. It is unsure whether or not the MLB season will occur. A cancellation would be detrimental to the entire league but especially to the Dodgers, who have to consider the possibility that Betts might never actually play a game in Dodger blue.
The league decided last month that any players due to hit free agency in 2021 will become free agents regardless of whether or not this season is played. For Betts, this means he can play anywhere he wants to next year, without even having appeared in a real game for the Dodgers if the 2020 season is canceled.
This would undoubtedly be the worst-case scenario for L.A.. Trading three of their most promising prospects to the Red Sox for just one guaranteed year of Betts indicates that the Dodgers were ready to throw their hat in the ring for a last-ditch effort at a World Series title.
Having this season as an opportunity to win it all is more crucial for the Dodgers than any other team. Next year several of L.A.’s biggest stars will become free agents alongside Betts, including fan-favorite third baseman Justin Turner, outfielders Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernandez and pitchers Alex Wood and Blake Treinen. Paired with the loss of outfielder Alex Verdugo, infielder Jeter Downs and catcher Connor Wong to the Red Sox in the trade for Betts, the 2021 season does not look as promising for the Dodgers’ attempt to finally claim the championship.
If this season does end up happening, fingers crossed, there’s no telling what the structure will look like. Some reported possibilities are double-headers with seven-inning games, playing in empty stadiums without fans and playoffs being pushed back to November or December. In any situation, it is very unlikely that all 162 games will take place.
It may seem like there’s not much to look forward to for Dodgers fans, but the team still has a lot of talented players in the coming years. 2019 National League MVP Cody Bellinger is under contract through the 2023 season, and star pitcher Walker Buehler will not become a free agent until 2025. In addition, they received former Cy Young-winning pitcher David Price from the Red Sox in the Betts trade, and Boston will pay for half of his remaining contract.
The future is uncertain for baseball and particularly the Dodgers if their trade for Betts ends up being wasted. MLB fans can only hope that COVID-19 will become contained enough for this season to go on, in whatever form it ends up taking.
This is the opinion of Ellie Kinney, a sophomore Communications Studies major from Boston, Massachusetts. Tweet comments to @LALoyolan or email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.