Mookie Betts: No regrets turning down Red Sox contract extension

Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

Mookie Betts says he doesn’t regret turning down the Boston Red Sox offer to re-sign him.

When the Los Angeles Dodgers traded for Mookie Betts in the offseason, nobody could have predicted the unique circumstances that would soon follow and turn the entire 2020 season and 2021 offseason on its head.

Speaking to the media for the first time since the pandemic curtailed what was supposed to be his first season playing in Dodger blue, Mookie Betts said he has no regrets about turning down the Boston Red Sox contract extension last winter, which was believed to be around $300 million.

"“I don’t regret turning down that [offer],” Betts said emphatically. “Once I make a decision, I make a decision. I’m not going back and questioning myself. I don’t worry about that. The market will be what the market is. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”"

MLB insider Peter Gammons recently speculated that revenue losses from the virus could cost Betts up to $150 million in free agency. It’s hard to believe team owners, who just fought the player’s association tooth-and-nail over a collective difference of a few-hundred million dollars, will be looking to shell out a record-breaking contract for Betts in the offseason. But that remains to be seen.

With players returning to camp and adjusting to new safety protocols in response to the pandemic, Betts said free agency is on the “back burner” right now.

"“Free agency is on the back burner,” Betts said. “That will come. That’s nothing that I’m really thinking about right now. I think the main concern is safety and health.”"

The 2018 American League MVP is set to become a free agent after this shortened 60-game campaign. The Dodgers traded young outfielder Alex Verdugo and two prospects (Jeter Downs and Connor Wong) to gain Betts’ services for the season leading up to him hitting the open market. Los Angeles also acquired starter David Price, who announced over the weekend that he will opt out of playing due to health concerns.

Betts admitted that he had some doubts about whether he would ever put on a Dodger uniform this year as negotiations between the owners and players dragged into June. He said he still has doubts that they will play considering the challenges associated with navigating through a global pandemic.

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The Dodgers are set to open the season as part of a national television event on July 23 against the San Francisco Giants.