The Dodgers have been good for a long time. Really good. But it became painfully apparent that they were missing one piece to the championship puzzle. In February of last year, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman went out and traded for that piece.
2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts was a revelation in his first season in Dodger blue. And he says he really wasn’t even that good in his own eyes. But it’s hard to deny the game-changer that Mookie was for LA last season. It’s also hard to explain just how important he was for the team.
Just ask AJ Pollock.
The Dodgers’ big offseason acquisition one winter before Betts, Pollock was part of a virtual round table with other former champions from the franchise’s history and talked about what the right fielder meant to the team.
“You can’t even put into words how big he was for us. You’re talking about the catches early on, the baserunning. He’s just that kind of player where he’s doing so many things right and when you get into these games where everything’s on the line. He has everything to take advantage of someone…his steps…everything is just perfect. He does that in practice, he does that in Spring Training, every single rep he takes is that.”
The cliché often heard in sports is someone doesn’t take a play off. In the case of Markus Lynn Betts, he doesn’t take one step off. Dodgers fans saw it on display last opening day where he scored the go-ahead run on a heads-up play against the Giants. And they saw his season bookended when he scored the winning run against the Tampa Rays in game 6 of the World Series.
The 28-year-old brings an edge to the best team in baseball and that’s hard to do a team with endless talent.
Mookie, AJ, and the Dodgers set out on their title defense one week from today, on April 1st in Colorado.