The newest members of the Los Angeles Dodgers, pitcher David Price and outfielder Mookie Betts, were going about their daily lives when they each got the jarring news that they had been traded.
Both had heard their names mentioned in trade rumors throughout the offseason, but the surprise still stung like the frozen wind at Fenway Park in the heart of winter.
"I heard rumblings and all those types of things," said Betts before he got the call that the trade was finally official. "But I didn't think much about it. I can't control it, so there was no sense in worrying about."
For Price, he had been traded multiple times before and is therefore all too familiar with the business side of baseball. He said he was cooking dinner with his family and spending time with his wife, two-and-a-half year-old son, and six-month old baby girl when the phone rang. As soon as he got the news, he went right back to being a dad.
"That takes all our focus and our attention," Price said about his children. "We had no control of all the trade stuff, so it didn't affect our daily routine. But once we found out we were coming we were both excited."
For Betts, this was the first time in his career he had been traded.
Betts was the face of the Boston Red Sox. He epitomized the work ethic of the city, and was one of the most beloved athletes in Beantown. The former 2018 AL MVP was supposed to sign a massive extension, similar to what the Angels did with Mike Trout. He wasn't supposed to leave for the bright lights of Hollywood.
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"I was actually hitting," Betts said when he got the phone call that he had been traded to Los Angeles. "I was hitting in the cage when I got the call that it was official. I was hitting in the cage when I found out. I took a little break, put my phone to the side then I finished up and took care of business."
A little break. That's all it took for one of the most talented players in Boston Red Sox history to stop and process the news that he was leaving the only franchise he had ever known. A little break, and then it was back to business. Getting ready for the 2020 season. A season he hopes will ignite a huge bidding war for his services in free agency. A season he could possibly be immortalized as a hero in Hollywood forever--by helping the Dodgers win their first World Series title since 1988.
"Once you taste it, you want to do it again," said Betts when asked about ending the 32-year World Series drought. "Being part of this group that definitely has a chance, you can't ask for anything more. I think with me and DP [David Price] being hungry wanting to get another one, and all the guys here wanting to get one, for sure will be a recipe for success."
That recipe for success is the pièce de résistance that Dodgers President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, is hoping he's getting with the acquisitions of Betts and Price. The recipe is a little bit of veteran talent that is itching to finally get over the hump, add some young and skilled players to keep the clubhouse light and fun, and sprinkle in a couple accomplished champions in Betts and Price that can help show the others how to get it done.
"I hope so," said Price about capturing the hunger for winning a World Series once he gets around his teammates and the fans who have been anxiously waiting for a title since 1988. "I think if Mookie can go be Mookie, and I can go and just be myself, both on the field and in the clubhouse, we will be excited by those guys."
Price said that both he and Betts are great clubhouse guys, and he can't wait to make friends with his new teammates. He says that’s the most important part of baseball for him--the relationships he makes in the locker room that will last him a lifetime.
"To be able to jump on a team like the Dodgers," said Price. "A team that has had the amount of success they've had the past few years and to be able to add a player like Mookie Betts, and myself to that mix as well, that's something very special and we're excited to be a part of that."
The Dodgers first exhibition game of spring training begins on Saturday, February 22, in Scottsdale, Arizona against the rival San Francisco Giants.