Dodgers players questioning Mookie Betts’ commitment is worthless offseason distraction

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

Mookie Betts is a cool guy. He looks cool when he plays, hosts a cool podcast, and is a ranked professional bowler, which is cool. He's known as a good teammate on top of being an MVP-caliber player pretty much every season. He knows when to take accountability when needed and is capable of digesting losses quickly and getting back to work to try to improve.

The Dodgers have been fielding more questions than most this offseason, partially because they were the first team to report to spring training and also because they're the Dodgers, and Betts' coolness seems like it's being interpreted as indifference. For him, the hottest questions have been about how he'll come back from going hitless in the postseason last year and, for some reason, how much he cares about baseball.

Dylan Hernández of The LA Times and Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic (subscription required) both published articles focused on Betts' commitment to coming through for the Dodgers in 2024's pretty much inevitable postseason scenarios, and both addressed concerns that Betts' dedication to baseball isn't where it should be. Hernández wrote: "The extreme fluctuations in performance, coupled with his relatively low-key demeanor, have made even some of his teammates question his commitment."

Questioning Mookie Betts' commitment to Dodgers after postseason slump is ridiculous

Hernández didn't name names, and he did go on to make his own argument for how much Betts clearly cares, as well as cite Dave Roberts saying that Betts might've been distracted by the looming goal of 40 home runs on the season (he ended up with 39). However, throwing in a little tidbit about how there might be strife in the Dodgers' clubhouse, caused by someone who's a clear leader both there and on-field, seems a little out of hand and hard to believe.

It's not that Betts didn't have to own up to his poor postseason performance and be transparent about how he'll try to fix it, but asking if it was because he just stopped caring about the game is ridiculous. A lot of things in baseball remain inexplicable — for the Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw's postseasons are among them — and a lot of things could've gone into Betts' mindset in October that contributed to the slump. All of those are more realistic than him just being mentally checked out.

Maybe Dodgers' media needs a little bit of drama to spice things up for what generally seems like a lowkey team with a good clubhouse culture, but asking if Mookie Betts cares is a new kind of reach.