Betts, Price ar­rive in Los An­ge­les

Antelope Valley Press - - SPORTS - By BETH HAR­RIS

Mookie Betts and David Price fi­nally turned up in Dodgers jer­seys on Wed­nes­day, com­plet­ing the jour­ney from Bos­ton to Los An­ge­les, where they’re ex­pected to help end a World Se­ries ti­tle drought dat­ing to 1988. Nei­ther seemed fazed by the trade that dragged out for over a week be­fore it was fi­nal­ized. Betts de­scribed the wait­ing game as “fun at times, kind of stress­ful at times.” Price said be­ing moved from one sto­ried fran­chise to an­other was “some­thing spe­cial.”

LOS AN­GE­LES — Mookie Betts and David Price fi­nally turned up in Dodgers jer­seys on Wed­nes­day, com­plet­ing the jour­ney from Bos­ton to Los An­ge­les, where they’re ex­pected to help end a World Se­ries ti­tle drought dat­ing to 1988.

Nei­ther seemed fazed by the trade that dragged out for over a week be­fore it was fi­nal­ized.

Betts de­scribed the wait­ing game as “fun at times, kind of stress­ful at times.” Price said be­ing moved from one sto­ried fran­chise to an­other was “some­thing spe­cial.”

“It wasn’t as easy for us,” joked An­drew Fried­man, Dodgers pres­i­dent of base­ball op­er­a­tions. “It was def­i­nitely a roller coaster.”

Betts, the 2018 AL MVP, joins cur­rent NL MVP Cody Bellinger in the Dodgers’ out­field. Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award win­ner, joins three-time NL Cy Young win­ner Clay­ton Ker­shaw in the start­ing ro­ta­tion.

“Def­i­nitely go­ing to be pretty spe­cial,” Betts said. “He’s go­ing to put on a show and I’ll do my best to keep up with him.”

Fried­man sees the 2020 Dodgers as “quite pos­si­bly our most tal­ented team.”

Betts was traded for the first time in his ca­reer. The 27-year-old right fielder was drafted by the Red Sox in 2011 and made his bigleague de­but three years later.

“I have a lot of mem­o­ries in Bos­ton. The most fun is the World Se­ries,” he said, al­lud­ing to the 2018 ti­tle won by the Red Sox at Dodger Sta­dium. “That was a great chap­ter in my life.”

Price said, “I know it’s tough for Red Sox na­tion to see Mookie leave.”

Fried­man first dis­cussed trad­ing for Betts with then-Bos­ton coun­ter­part Dave Dom­browski last July. But then the Red Sox won sev­eral games in a row and ended the talks. Things heated up again in the fall.

A ca­su­alty of the deal that brought Betts and Price to the Dodgers was an­other one that would have sent out­fielder Joc Ped­er­son and right-han­der Ross Stripling to the ri­val An­gels for in­fielder Luis Rengifo. It didn’t hap­pen.

“Our thing was putting our­selves in the best po­si­tion to ac­quire the two guys we ac­quired,” Fried­man said. “That had a lot of dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions and a lot of dif­fer­ent things that were po­ten­tials. The way it ended up play­ing out we’re happy with.”

Betts can be­come a free agent af­ter the sea­son. He brushed off a ques­tion on whether he would dis­cuss a con­tract ex­ten­sion dur­ing the sea­son.

“We’re hop­ing that he falls in love with the team, the city, the fans, and wants to be here for a long time,” Fried­man said.

Fried­man has ad­mired Price since he was in Tampa Bay’s front of­fice and the team se­lected the pitcher with the first pick in the 2007 draft.

Fried­man joked that he’s had his eye on Betts from afar for so long he “may want to get a re­strain­ing or­der against me.”

“He em­bod­ies every­thing that we re­ally value about a po­si­tion player — the im­pact he has on de­fense, the in­stincts on the bases, in the bat­ter’s box,” Fried­man said.

An­other big fac­tor was the pos­i­tive things team­mates and those who have dealt with Betts said about him. “He would blush if he heard all the nice things,” Fried­man said.

Both play­ers said they look for­ward to get­ting to know their new team­mates.

“Those re­la­tion­ships trans­late to in be­tween the lines and that’s when you see a team re­ally be­come a team, and that’s how you win a World Se­ries,” Betts said.

The play­ers were in­tro­duced at Dodger Sta­dium be­fore catch­ing an evening flight to Ari­zona, where the team opens spring train­ing Thurs­day. Be­yond Betts and Price in cen­ter field, con­struc­tion crews worked on the out­field pavil­ions where a ma­jor ren­o­va­tion project is un­der­way. They were led on a brief tour.

Betts wore a hoodie un­der his jersey, ex­plain­ing it pro­tected his head from the win­ter sun on a 67 de­gree day.

Betts will keep his No. 50 jersey, a num­ber cho­sen long ago be­cause “no­body wants it,” he said.

“I’d like to cel­e­brate again here in this jersey for sure,” he said.

KEVIN REECE Spe­cial to the Val­ley Press

WEL­COME New Dodgers play­ers David Price, left, and Mookie Betts speak dur­ing a news con­fer­ence to an­nounce their ac­qui­si­tion at Dodger Sta­dium in Los An­ge­les on Wed­nes­day.

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