Last week, one of the biggest trades in recent Major League Baseball (MLB) history played out as the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired outfielder Mookie Betts and starting pitcher David Price from the Boston Red Sox. For the Dodgers, this represents one final push to win a World Series in their current era of success.
In a single deal, the Dodgers received both the 2018 MVP and the 2012 Cy Young Award winner. In return for their two stars, the Red Sox were sent three of L.A.’s most promising prospects. Outfielder Alex Verdugo had his breakout season last year, batting .294 and recording 44 runs batted in (RBIs) in his first full MLB campaign. The two other prospects heading east are minor league players Jeter Downs and Connor Wong. For two of MLB’s biggest clubs, this trade represents a facelift of both franchise’s personnel and a reshaping of their hopes for the upcoming season.
With this trade now completed, the Dodgers hope that Betts will be the final missing piece of their World Series puzzle. A seventh championship title has eluded the franchise since the Dodgers last won the game’s premier series in 1988. Over the next three decades, Dodger fans became accustomed to heartbreak and frustration. The team would not even play in another World Series until 2017.
In a now-infamous series, the Dodgers came up short against the Houston Astros in a seven game tug of war between the two clubs. Just one win shy of a title in 2017, the Dodgers booked another ticket to the World Series in 2018 where they faced the Red Sox. However, this year’s series did not play out as competitively. Los Angeles was outmatched by the Betts-led Red Sox, only managing to grab one game in the series as Boston claimed yet another title in addition to their previous eight.
Last season may have been one of the most disappointing in club history. In a dominant regular season, the Dodgers won 106 games and secured the first seed in the National League playoffs. It all came crashing down in a five-game divisional round loss against the wild-card Washington Nationals.
The past three seasons have been a roller coaster ride for the Dodgers. They have played as a truly great baseball team for long stretches of this time frame. But when it has mattered most for the club in the postseason, they always seem to find a way to come up short. The trade for Betts and Price represents the latest attempt by the organization to claim its elusive prize of a World Series title.
Joining L.A.’s other biggest star and last season’s National League MVP in Cody Bellinger, Betts will now become part of the best outfields in Major League Baseball. The Dodgers will now feature two former MVPs regularly playing alongside one another. It is only the 10th time in baseball history that a team has featured two MVP award holders in the same outfield. If both players can remain healthy and hit their stride, it is scary to think how good this duo could become for the Dodgers in 2020.
However, there is one important caveat to the Bellinger-Betts duo — both players have one year left on their contracts. After 2020, both players have the potential to leave L.A. and sign with another team. Considering the stardom of each player and how much money they would demand for long-term deals, it is hard to imagine the Dodgers signing both to extended contracts.
Betts is not guaranteed to stay with the team past one year. The Dodgers have one shot in 2020 to capture lightning in a bottle and break their World Series curse. Most get the feeling that if it does not happen this year for L.A., it will not happen again anytime soon. Either way, one thing is for sure — it will be really fun to watch.
This is the opinion of Nick Rossi, a junior AIMS major from Orange, California. Tweet comments to @LALoyolan or email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.