Samson: Mookie Betts could wind up a free agent without ever playing a game with the Dodgers
David Samson discussed the issue of service time if the 2020 season is canceled
The Los Angeles Dodgers made arguably the biggest move of the MLB offseason when they acquired star outfielder Mookie Betts in a trade with the Boston Red Sox. However, with the 2020 season in doubt, Betts may not play a single game with the Dodgers before becoming a free agent due to players being granted a full year of service even if there isn't a season.
During Friday's installment of "Nothing Personal with David Samson," David Samson discussed the issue of service time and points out that Betts may not ever suit up for the Dodgers if the 2020 season ends up being canceled.
"If there is no season played in 2020, every player will get the identical season time for the 2020 season that they got in the 2019 season," Samson said. "If there are no games in 2020, you get another full year of service. Why does this matter? Because that means that it is now confirmed that Mookie Betts could become a free agent without playing one game for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Now granted, if there is no season, then Mookie Betts won't get his $27 million. But the Dodgers will have lost Alex Verdugo and they will have gotten zero out of Mookie Betts. And he now is a free agent, so if the Dodgers want him, they have to give him a free agent deal."
Samson also points out that service time would affect several players that have been traded for over the last year. The Cincinnati Reds traded for starting pitcher Trevor Bauer in the hopes that they'd have him for the 2020 season before he becomes a free agent.
Obviously, the Dodgers will have still received starting pitcher David Price in the deal, so it won't be all for nothing. However, Betts was clearly the centerpiece of the deal and not having him play a single inning as a member of the Dodgers would be a disaster.
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