Mookie Betts Arrives as a Capstone to the Dodgers’ Patient Project

The Dodgers employed Friedman after the 2014 season, trusting him to discover Rays-style bargains to complement their massive — however accountable — spending. Sticking to that plan made it straightforward for the Dodgers to spend so lavishly on Betts: The mixed worth of Friedman’s three most profitable offers for the Dodgers earlier than Wednesday’s — with Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner — is about $237 million, or lower than two-thirds of what the Dodgers now owe Betts.

Friedman has made dangerous offers, too, however nothing that hamstrung the Dodgers from affording a contract like this. Players like Max Muncy and Chris Taylor — afterthoughts for different groups — turned cost-effective contributors. The farm system nurtured gamers Friedman inherited, like Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager and Julio Urias, and developed extra, like pitchers Walker Buehler and Dustin May and catcher Will Smith.

“We’ve done a really good job of identifying when players reach the point of being ready, and that last mile — what has allowed us to be as successful as we’ve been — has been our clubhouse culture at the major league level,” Friedman stated, crediting Manager Dave Roberts and the coaches. “They do a tremendous job of instilling it, and then our players carry it out unlike anything I’ve ever seen. When young players come up, our veteran players actively try to help them acclimate.”

Along the means, Friedman has generally annoyed Dodgers followers by resisting splashy free-agent investments or refusing to deal prospects in trades. In-season offers to purchase Yu Darvish and Manny Machado helped, however solely to a level; the Astros hammered Darvish in the 2017 World Series, and Machado hit .182 towards the Red Sox in the 2018 World Series.

Darvish and Machado left as free brokers, however the Dodgers determined they didn’t need to danger shedding Betts after a 60-game cameo. Friedman was simply ready for the proper funding to come round.

“Patience isn’t necessarily a virtue of mine, but we’ve had to kind of practice it throughout this — in that, if you’re going to make a bet like this, you want to feel as confident as you can about the human, about how much they care, about their work ethic, and I can’t imagine feeling more confident than we do about Mookie,” Friedman stated.

“So that helps, but also us staying patient and doing things to help us in the short term — but not necessarily costing us in the long term — has provided us some flexibility to be able to do that. Obviously we’re really excited with how it turned out.”

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