Do the San Francisco Giants have a legitimate shot at Mookie Betts in 2021?

San Francisco Giants, Mookie Betts (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
San Francisco Giants, Mookie Betts (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Newly-acquired Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts will be a free agent after this year. Do the San Francisco Giants have a shot at landing him in 2021?

The beginning of the 2020 MLB season leaves fans of the San Francisco Giants in an unfamiliar place.

After winning the World Series three times in the 2010s, the rebuilding franchise now resides in a position where a postseason berth feels light-years away.

The Rebuild

MLB’s PECOTA projections currently give the Giants a meager 0.2% chance to make the playoffs in this season (the fifth-worst mark in the league).

While legends like Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval have returned to the franchise in a limited role, the departure of stars like Madison Bumgarner have clearly signaled the end of an era.

This leaves Bay Area fans with one pressing question — how long will it take to rebuild a contending roster?

The team has the benefit of playing in a major market. They have also historically been willing to spend on major free agents. In fact, the team reported extended a massive $310 million contract to superstar Bryce Harper in 2019.

San Francisco’s Opening Day payroll of $199,729,652 is the fifth-highest in the league. This should allow the franchise to jump-start their rebuild by offering contracts to the top players on the market.

The top name on this list, is superstar Mookie Betts.

The Star

Betts is widely considered to be one of the best overall players in baseball.

He has been selected as an All-Star in each of the past four seasons, while also adding one American League MVP (2018), three Silver Slugger awards, four Gold Glove awards, and a World Series ring to his impressive trophy case. He also has a career average above .300.

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Perhaps the most important fact about Betts is that he has accomplished these feats at the young age of 27-years-old. The former Boston Red Sox star will be the clear top player on the market in 2021.

The Odds of Landing Betts

While the superstar was recently traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, he has not committed to a long term deal with his new team. This gives the Giants a fighting chance to pry Betts away from their rivals at the end of the year.

Current odds predict that Betts will land a mega-deal over 10 years in length and over $400 million in total salary. This places the Giants alongside a very small handful of teams who will be willing to offer such a massive contract.

Common sense implies that the Dodgers and New York Yankees will show serious interest in Betts. Teams like the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals could also have the funds to make a surprise play.

For what it’s worth, the San Diego Padres also reportedly made a play for Betts before his trade to Los Angeles.

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However, the fact that a major-market team like the Red Sox were afraid to commit the funds necessary to retain their star is an excellent indicator of how few teams are likely to make a serious run at Betts.

The Conclusion

The Dodgers should be considered front runners to make the long-term agreement. They have a full season to sell Mookie Betts on team and life in Los Angeles.

They are also projected to finish with a league-high 103 victories. In fact, there is even a chance that the two parties could agree to an extension before the free agency period even begins.

However, there is always the chance that the team underperforms in 2020. What happens if the Dodgers, who have a history of postseason letdowns, end another season in disappointing fashion? Or if Betts doesn’t mesh with the team as well as he is expected?

If anything goes wrong in Los Angeles, the Giants should find themselves at the front of the line as a potential suitor.

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In fact, outside of the Dodgers, no team should feel better about the possibility of adding Mookie Betts, than the San Francisco Giants.