The Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly have agreed to an enormous contract extension with arguably the second-best player in baseball.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Dodgers and outfielder Mookie Betts have agreed to a 12-year, $365 million extension. If we include Betts’ current one-year, $27 million deal, it’s a 13-year, $392 million contract in total.

The $365 million tops the money for Mike Trout’s extension with the Los Angeles Angels, which was $360 million (for 10 years).

The Dodgers acquired Betts from the Boston Red Sox in a blockbuster three-team trade in February, and were surely frustrated about the idea of potentially only having Betts for 60 games, with Betts set to hit free agency after the shortened 2020 season. Well, the Dodgers no longer have to worry about that.

But, goodness, the price the Dodgers paid to make it happen, *during a pandemic*, is absolutely stunning. Yes, MLB owners are still very rich and don’t let them try to tell you otherwise, but the expectation has been that the COVID-19 pandemic — and likely not being able to sell tickets this season — would have a big impact on the market over the next year or two.

With that in mind, there’s been some speculation that the Dodgers may have been close to a contract with Betts — or had even already formally agreed with a contract with Betts — around these numbers before the pandemic began.

Otherwise, it’s questionable to sign Betts to this contract now, when he possibly could’ve been had for a bit less — potentially a lot less — next offseason on the open market. While the Betts contract may suggest that, “Hey, maybe all of these rich owners will indeed keep acting rich even after losing some money during the pandemic,” that’s unlikely to be the reality. The amount of organizations willing to hand out big contracts by this winter is likely very small, and especially when talking contracts over $300 million. This contract is more likely just a juggernaut, massively-resourced organization acting as such, and — unfortunately for the players — should not be used as an example of how the upcoming free-agent market will go.

But if you can easily afford it like the Dodgers can, there’s value in just getting the player locked up as soon as possible. It’s a morale boost for everybody involved, and the Dodgers now know they have two of baseball’s best players under team control for several seasons in Betts and Cody Bellinger (he’ll be a free agent ahead of the 2024 season).

And while you never know when it comes to mega long-term contracts, Betts is unlikely to be a “bust” with this deal.

Betts is still young at 27 years old, and he put together 10.6 Wins Above Replacement (per Baseball Reference) in 2018, a higher WAR than Mike Trout has ever had in a single season. While Betts may not repeat a season like that again, he’s still annually a star player who brings value in so many different ways- he slugs, he hits for average, he takes walks, he doesn’t strike out much, he has speed and is one of the best baserunners in baseball, and he’s an elite defender in right field. Even if he declines in an area or two over time, he does so many things well that he’s still likely to be a very valuable ballplayer well into his 30s.

The Dodgers have been the team to beat in the NL West for many years, winning seven straight division titles. This signing would suggest that things won’t really change on that front anytime soon. The Dodgers should remain a juggernaut for a long while.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.