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Everything you need to know about Betts, Price

@kengurnick
February 13, 2020

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As you might have heard, the Dodgers introduced a couple of new players on Wednesday. Here are some of the questions and answers about Mookie Betts, the 2018 American League MVP, and David Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young winner. What will be their specific roles? Betts

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As you might have heard, the Dodgers introduced a couple of new players on Wednesday. Here are some of the questions and answers about Mookie Betts, the 2018 American League MVP, and David Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young winner.

What will be their specific roles?
Betts will bat leadoff and start in right field, flanking fellow MVP Cody Bellinger.

“He won the MVP last year, so he's definitely going to put on a show, and I'll do my best to keep up with him,” Betts said of Bellinger.

Price slots in as a potentially imposing No. 3 starter behind Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw.

Is Price healthy?
He tried to pitch last year with a cyst in his left wrist, which was removed in September. He’s rehabbed enough to already be throwing bullpen sessions, reportedly impressively.

The 34-year-old left-hander said: “It would just get inflamed and it would swell up and cut everything off to my hand. That’s why my hand would get cold and I would lose feeling in it. Ever since I had the surgery, I would go to rehab every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday with my trainers in Boston. They could instantly tell how much warmer my hand was. The feeling in my hand, overall, was a lot better, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and testing it in baseball.”

Is Betts open to a contract extension?
It’s a $400+ million question. That’s what Betts -- a free agent after this season -- reportedly asked for, convincing the Red Sox that they couldn’t sign him. But at the Dodger Stadium press conference, while president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman indicated the Dodgers’ interest in a long-term arrangement, Betts deflected contract talk.

"Right now, I just got here -- still trying to find a house and those kinds of things," Betts said. "I'm not even really thinking about that. I'm just focused on staying with 2020 and going from there."

Are these players a good fit in the clubhouse?
That question was raised about Adrián González, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto the last time the Dodgers made a blockbuster trade with the Red Sox. They fit just fine. MLB.com Red Sox reporter Ian Browne said Price smiled more during Wednesday’s press conference than he did in four years in Boston.

Friedman drafted Price, and later traded him, when they were in Tampa Bay. He called Price “as good a teammate as I’ve ever seen.” Then he joked that he’s followed Betts’ career so closely somebody “should have issued a restraining order,” with the feedback on background checks so glowing Betts “would blush if he heard it.”

Why their choice of uniform numbers?
Betts stuck with No. 50, his only number in Boston, which was open among Dodgers. The last Dodger to wear it was Ryan Madson in 2018. Among Dodgers that have worn the number are Betts’ former Boston teammate, Nathan Eovaldi, and Boston’s new interim manager, Ron Roenicke. Price wore 14, 24 and 10 previously, but chose No. 33 in Dodger Blue. He said it was a tribute to James Shields, who Price said took him under his wing as a young pitcher. The last Dodger to wear No. 33 was Breyvic Valera, and among those to wear it as a Dodger was Hall of Famer Eddie Murray and Hall of Famer Roy Campanella (in his rookie season).

What becomes of Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling after their trade to the Angels was nixed?
Assuming they aren’t traded, Pederson will platoon with A.J. Pollock for playing time in left field and Stripling resumes as the professional swingman, considered a candidate for the open fifth starter spot, but with a default role as a middle reliever. Friedman said because so much of the trade became public before it was completed, he provided updates to the players.

Will the Dodgers exceed the Competitive Balance Tax threshold this year?
"We are well over with no CBT gymnastics in sight that will get us under. I was joking with [president and CEO] Stan [Kasten] the other day. He made some public comments that he expected us to be over and I wanted to deliver on that. We definitely did." -- Friedman on MLB Network Radio

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.