The Los Angeles Dodgers and outfielder Mookie Betts are reportedly finalizing a long-term deal that will pay for the former American League MVP $380 million over the next 13 seasons.
According to ESPN, the deal does include the 2020 season, which is set to start Thursday.
Betts’ total salary ranks behind only Los Angeles Angels centerfielder Mike Trout ($426.5 million) in total value as the Nashville native surpasses Philadelphia’s Bryce Harper ($330 million), the Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton ($325 million) and Gerrit Cole ($324 million), as well as San Diego Padres star Manny Machado ($300 million).
In terms of average annual salary, Betts ($29 million) would rank behind several players, including Cole ($36 million annually), Trout ($35 million), Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg ($35 million).
Betts’ deal is still shy of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’s $503 million contract extension, but that deal is not guaranteed, and the reigning Super Bowl MVP would get only $140 million if he were released due to injury.
Boxer Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez also ranks among the highest-paid athletes in sports having signed a five-year, 11-fight deal with the streaming service DAZN for a reported $365 million.
Betts, 27, joined the Dodgers along with left-hander David Price in a five-player trade with the Boston Red Sox in February.
The four-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove Award winner was the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2018 when he led the majors with a .346 average, 129 runs and belted a career-high 32 home runs.
Betts batted .295 last season, again leading the big leagues with 135 runs scored and tallying 29 homers, 80 RBIs, 40 doubles and 16 steals in 150 games.
According to reports, he turned down a 10-year, $300 million offer from the Red Sox in the offseason, countering with a 12-year, $420 million proposal that the team turned down before dealing him to L.A.
The Dodgers open the season on Thursday against the visiting San Francisco Giants.
Betts’s World Series ring actually came at the Dodgers’ expense in 2018.
It was after Game 2 of that series that the right fielder was seen personally delivering trays of uneaten food to Boston-area homeless people.
The generous act was revealed by local sports radio station host and former Red Sox infielder Lou Merloni, who tweeted out an Instagram grab of the homeless people enjoying the donated food. It’s not clear who originally posted the story to Instagram.
‘Little birdie told me an amazing story,’ wrote Merloni, who has a show on Boston’s WEEI. ‘This was the scene last night around 1am out in front of the Boston Library. Trays and trays of food fed the homeless. The man that delivered the food wasn’t looking for attention or praise BUT deserves it. God Bless you Mookie Betts.’
Local nightclub host Mike Winter – who may have been the source of the original Instagram post referenced by Merloni – told WEEI that he found Betts and a man who is believed to be his cousin delivering food trays to hungry homeless people hours after the Red Sox took a 2-0 series lead.
After leaving the local club ‘Storyville’ around 1:45am, just hours after Boston’s 4-2 Game 2 win, Winter saw the pair delivering about 10 large trays of food in a shopping cart.
At first Winter did not recognize the 26-year-old Betts, who had his hood up in the 40-degree cold. However, the nightclub host soon realized he was looking at the famous right fielder.
‘I didn’t know who they were at first,’ Winter told WEEI. ‘They had hoodies on. Next thing I know they are laying out trays of food. Then they’re walking around all of Boston library where there are tons of homeless and telling people there is food around the corner.
‘I walked up and I said, “Hello,” because we have a mutual friend and then all the people from the club came out and he just walked away,’ Winter continued. ‘No pictures. No nothing. None of the homeless even knew who he was but they were just grateful for what he was doing.’
According to Winter, the trays of food contained steak tips and chicken. Even some of the patrons who were leaving a nearby club got a small bite.
‘They were flabbergasted,’ Winter said. ‘You see a lot of celebrities do stuff for recognition but the fact was he was trying to stay totally on the down-low. He wasn’t out looking for any recognition all. A lot of people are looking for a pat on the back and he wasn’t looking for that whatsoever. He was incognito just trying to do good.
‘Nowadays people do stuff because they want recognition,’ Winters continued. ‘He didn’t even want recognition. He wasn’t being followed by cameras like people do on Instagram. This is just him being himself.’
Although he made $10.5 million for the 2018 season, Betts is eligible for arbitration this winter, and will likely be making a considerably higher salary in 2019. He can become a free agent in 2021, when Betts is expected to become one of the highest-paid players in baseball.
Betts has developed a reputation for generosity. He and now-former teammate Blake Swihart were seen giving pizza to a homeless man in New York in 2015.