You certainly can’t blame Mookie Betts for betting on himself, but his decision to do so — to no fault of his own — might not be as shrewd as originally thought.
The star outfielder is set to become a free agent after this season, and he long has been positioned to get a hefty payday. Intent on testing the market, he reportedly turned down offers from the Boston Red Sox, who ultimately traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers back in February.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on baseball, the free agency market looks more uncertain than ever. It’s taken a while for stars to receive and sign lucrative contracts in recent winters, and the financial impact the pandemic has had on the game could only perpetuate that.
In his media availability Monday, Betts addressed his looming free agency.
“Free agency is on the back burner,” Betts told reporters Monday, per The Orange County Register. “That’s not what I’m thinking about right now.”
He added: “There’s just a lot going on that needs to be addressed and free agency is not one of them right now. That’ll come. … I don’t regret turning that (extension) down. Once I make a decision, I don’t go back and question myself. So, I don’t worry about that. The market will be what the market is. We’ll just kind of cross that bridge when we get there.”
Regardless of what the market looks like this offseason, it’s probably fair to say Betts will be the most sought-after player in the league.