BOSTON (CBS) — If Mookie Betts holds any negative feelings toward the way his tenure in Boston ended, he wasn’t showing it on Wednesday.
The Dodgers’ new superstar was introduced at Dodger Stadium, alongside David Price, in an introductory press conference in Chavez Ravine. Facing massive expectations to lift the Dodgers to a World Series title after the team came so close in recent years, Betts downplayed any added pressure in settling in to his new baseball home.
“I guess we can take it as a compliment for sure, but we don’t want to add any extra pressure,” Betts said of those championship expectations. “We’re coming here to play the same way we always do.”
Though the trade is still fresh, Betts didn’t express any frustration with being sent out of Boston. Regarding the details of the trade going public, Betts said he was simply focused on trying to find a new place to live. As for memories in Boston, it seems as though they’re all positive for Betts.
“I mean I have a lot of memories in Boston,” Betts said. “Obviously I’d say the most fond is the World Series, but from the debuts to the ins and outs of every day being around Boston, I have so many memories. That was a great chapter in my life, for sure.”
“We won a lot of games,” said Price. “We won three AL East division titles, and we were able to win a World Series in 2018. For myself, 2018 was very special there at the end, and those are very, very good memories for myself.”
Betts, 27, was traded along with Price from the Red Sox to the Dodgers over the weekend. With just one year of team control left (at a cost of $27 million) on Betts, the Red Sox opted to end his Boston career one year early instead of losing him to free agency.
Um, Mookie Betts and David Price are DODGERS. 😍 pic.twitter.com/cGBWXXAJxg
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) February 12, 2020
David Price and Mookie Betts have arrived at Dodger Stadium. pic.twitter.com/KXbMRNElxa
— Sarah Wexler (@SarahWexler32) February 12, 2020
Price, 34, signed with the Red Sox in December of 2015, inking the richest contract ever for a pitcher at seven years and $217 million. He played an integral role in the Red Sox’ 2018 World Series win but otherwise underwhelmed, posting a 46-24 record with a 3.84 ERA in 98 starts over four years. After making 35 starts in 2016, he averaged just 23 starts per year over his final three seasons as he battled various injuries and “unique elbow” situations.
It's happening. pic.twitter.com/4z7QKXGCBW
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) February 12, 2020
With the Red Sox eager to get under MLB’s competitive balance tax — aka the luxury tax — Boston agreed to pay half of the remaining $96 million left on Price’s deal in the trade to the Dodgers.
Though Boston is hardly a small baseball market, the move to the massive media market in Los Angeles will likely afford Betts an opportunity to become more of a household name. On that front, Betts said any and all fame would only be based on his on-field performance.
“I mean, I think just being in L.A. in general, that opportunity is definitely there. I have to take care of my business on the field, and those opportunities kind of come. My mind is definitely on taking care of business here, and the rest will take care of itself,” he said.
Betts was asked one question about possibly negotiating a contract extension with the Dodgers, but he sidestepped it by saying he’s focused on 2020 and will take things as they come. He was not asked about the end of his time in Boston, or for his feelings on the team to trade him.
As for adjusting to the chaos of getting traded, Betts said he’s ready to get back to business as usual.
“I mean, you know, it was definitely something new. I had been in trade rumors I think my first year. After that they kind of went away. It was definitely something new I had to get used to,” he said. “I think once I accepted that it might happen, everything was fine. I’m essentially going to play the same game, just with a different uniform.”