The press conference during which the Dodgers introduced superstar acquisitions Mookie Betts and David Price was about what anyone would have expected. Andrew Friedman was uncharacteristically over the moon, basking in both the sunlight (which Mookie used his sweatshirt to protect himself from) and the glory of his biggest move as President of Baseball Operations. Friedman acknowledged a few times that the process wasn’t direct, calling it a “roller coaster” and acknowledging how much of it shouldn’t have been public due to the impact on players’ lives. He added that he was squarely focused on getting it done, insinuating that the length resulted from the Red Sox’s side of the negotiations. Friedman also praised David Price’s clubhouse demeanor, calling him “as good of a teammate as I’ve ever seen” and a huge part of the Rays’ culture (Friedman previously worked with Price in Tampa Bay). He added that all the good things he’s heard about Mookie from everybody he’s talked to would make him “blush,” and joked that Mookie “might want to get a restraining order” against him. Additionally, Dave Roberts was clearly incredibly excited to add both Mookie and David to his roster, in both ways you can and can’t quantify. He said that he is very excited to get going and compete in 2020.
David Price, especially, seemed incredibly happy to be a Dodger. He said that this team is special to be a part of, and that the trade rumors didn’t bother him or disrupt his daily routine, perhaps signifying that he was in fact hoping to be traded. He’s excited to hit, correcting Mookie, who remarked that he was 2-4, saying that he is actually 2 for his last 3, and that it brings him back to his high school days. He described the league switch, and being able to hit, as an opportunity that he is excited and even grateful for. As long as he isn’t catching, Price said he would be happy to undertake any role the Dodgers ask of him and added that his wrist feels great and much better. His number, 33, is a nod to James Shields, one of Price’s mentor when he first came up in the league.
Mookie Betts, donning his signature number 50 (which he requested, but it is, as he said, never taken), also appeared happy to be in Los Angeles, although I imagine he is also going through quite the transition in his life. He smiled at the right times and did the right things, and I think that any apprehension or like feelings are due to the adjustment of leaving the only Major League Baseball organization he has even known. Mookie remarked that during the long and arduous process that was this trade he was just trying to find a place to live, but that he was okay once he accepted the change. Additionally, Betts remarked that as long as he didn’t have to put on any of his thermal gear, he was ok, saying that he was happy about the nicer weather in Los Angeles as opposed to chilly New England Springs and Falls. Asked about whether or not he was focused on “branding” during his walk year, Mookie said that he was feeling no extra pressure and was focused on “taking care of business” in LA and with the team. When asked about an extension, Mookie gave, in my opinion, the right answer, which was essentially no, because he is just focused on getting his family settled. Finally, Mookie asserted that he wanted to celebrate at Dodger Stadium again and is focused on going forward as opposed to excessively reminiscing about his 2018 World Championship. Both players, when asked, said that they felt no issues with Rendon’s “Hollywood Lifestyle,” and that they were both focused on their families and here to play baseball. Furthermore, they both said they were most excited to meet and form close bonds with their teammates, which is something that Mookie called integral to winning a championship. When asked about playing with 2019 National League MVP Cody Bellinger, Betts smiled and remarked that Bellinger was going to “put on a show,” and that he would do his best to keep up.
So yeah. It’s gonna be a fun year.