The Dodgers knew that they loved Mookie Betts before he ever played a meaningful game for them. They proved that by giving him a monster 12-year extension worth $365 million right after landing him in a trade from the Boston Red Sox. That extension came as baseball was trying to figure out how to play in the middle of the pandemic.
But on and off of the field, Betts has been everything the Dodgers could hope for in a franchise player. He helped lead the Dodgers to a World Series title in 2020, finishing second in NL MVP voting in his first year with Los Angeles.
But despite a down season last year, Dave Roberts is expecting big things from his right fielder. The Dodgers skipper spoke briefly with reporters before getting onto the team bus on Wednesday afternoon, and he fully expects him to be back into the MVP talk this year.
“I can’t imagine him not being in the MVP talk this season.”
Betts experienced a number of injuries in 2021, including issues with his back and hip. That limited him to just 122 games and a .854 OPS, the lowest mark of his career since 2017. But there is no reason to doubt that he can get back to his 2018-2020 form, and that would be huge for the Dodgers.
When you add in the guys that Betts is surrounded by in the lineup this year, you can’t help but feel he is primed to break out. Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner batting right behind him pushed some of the better bats they’ve had down in the order. That could play up for Betts batting leadoff.
Look for him to have a monster year in 2022.