Video: What to Expect From Dodgers' Mookie Betts in 2020
Regular readers of this column take a few things as givens before beginning a read. They know that I don't pull my punches, and that when I feel strongly about something, I fire away with a no-quarter rant. They also know that I don't respond well to an ill-conceived bunt attempt, that Don Mattingly had to leave L.A. for Miami because he was a bunting fool, and that "it's called sacrifice for a reason!"
As for the feel-strongly-about-a-thing thing, about five minutes into COVID-19 a rather annoying narrative hit baseball. And spread like a coronavirus. It went something like this: The Dodgers have as much or more to lose than any team in baseball by a shortened or cancelled season because they're built for a long season. And because they often get out of the gate slow. And perhaps more importantly in this context, because they traded three prospects for Mookie Betts, who may never suit up a single time for the club, or if he does, it'll be for a limited number of games.
This article serves as a prototype. So does this one, by colleague Tom Verducci. Here's another. And another. And you know what Vin Scully would say, as if he'd just read the lips of an irate skipper, right? "Fertilizer!"
Yeah, it's crap. The Dodgers are built for a long season, sure, but they're built to dominate just plain generally. Sixty games or 162. They're plenty good enough to adapt to face the challenge. And Betts is going to re-sign with Los Angeles in November, shutdown or no shutdown. He's going to re-sign. He was always going to re-sign. If you watched Andrew Friedman's glee upon acquiring the former-MVP from Boston in February, you saw a smile so wide it practically jumped his face for the guy sitting next to him. A guy named Dave Roberts.
[Related: Video: What to Expect From Dodgers' Cody Bellinger in 2020]
Friedman wasn't kidding when he said that Betts is "the best player I have ever traded for and probably, I feel confident saying, it’s the best player I ever will trade for." Since I'm a Friedman whisperer, I'll translate. Friedman had concluded two things there. First that he was unlikely to trade for Mike Trout, and second that he was going to re-sign his right fielder. He is going to re-sign his right-fielder. Betts is the one guy. The. One. Guy. The one move-mountains-to-get guy. More precisely, he's the move-mountains-to-get-guy that Bryce Harper wasn't.
When asked to speak on the subject of the 2020 Dodgers and Mr. Betts, my job, if I chose to accept it, was to get the above comment off my chest, and make a statistical projection for the young man's season. I wasn't going to get cute. The projection is simply this: 300/.400/.500, 10 home runs, 10 steals and 30 RBIs. Mark it down, along with the re-signing prediction, and we'll compare notes in November.
Be there, aloha. Now watch the video above.
Howard Cole has been writing about baseball on the internet since Y2K. Follow him on Twitter.