LOS ANGELES — Andrew Friedman, the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ president of baseball operations, tried to trade for Mookie Betts last summer. But the Boston Red Sox, at the time still under the direction of Dave Dombrowski, suddenly got hot. They won five of six against the division-rival Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees near the end of July and decided against a trade.
Friedman’s admiration for Betts stretches much further back, to Betts’ minor league days, when Friedman worked out of a different coast and Betts was still trying to make it as a second baseman.
“It goes back a long time, from afar,” Friedman said. “He may wanna get a restraining order against me.”
Friedman was finally, officially, able to land Betts on Monday after successfully coordinating with new Red Sox executive Chaim Bloom, Friedman’s former protégé with the Rays. The Dodgers absorbed half of the $96 million remaining on David Price‘s contract, parted with outfielder Alex Verdugo and gave up a coveted prospect in middle infielder Jeter Downs.
But at last — after following Betts’ progression to stardom, failing to acquire him seven months ago and configuring a second version of a complex trade –…