Mookie Betts was willing to change positions for Aaron Judge
Mookie Bates was willing to do anything to convince Aaron Judge to come to Los Angeles.
Accordingly Tom Verducci of Sports IllustratedThat means trading the outfield for second base to make room for the reigning American League MVP.
“Yeah, it probably sounds like something I said,” Bates told Verducci. “But hey, it was going to get a hassle.”
Judge eventually stayed with the Yankees during the offseason, inking a massive nine-year, $360 million deal in December.
It won’t be such a big stretch for Betts, a six-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion and former umpire from his days with the Red Sox.
Bates was drafted by Boston in 2011 as a second baseman out of Overton High School in Nashville.
However, he never spoke directly to the judge about potentially joining the forces.
“No, I don’t,” Bates said. “I want the boys to do what’s best for them and their families.”
In fact, with the Dodgers facing a potential infield crisis following Gavin Lux’s season-ending injury, Bates’ versatility seems likely to come in handy.
“It’s real,” LA manager Dave Roberts Bates said about the prospect of logging time per second. “The way I envision it, Mookie starts about 40 games at second base and 110 games in the outfield.”
If Bates, the 2018 AL MVP, and Judge ended up on the same roster, it would have been quite the spectacle as the already stacked Dodgers would have added another big-contract player.
Bates is in the early years of a 12-year, $365 million contract — the second-richest total deal in MLB — though Judge’s $40 million AAV is baseball’s third-highest.
Bates, 30, and the Dodgers posted the best regular season record in MLB in 2022 at 111-51, but the franchise was eliminated from the playoffs after falling to the San Diego Padres in the fourth round of the National League Division Series.