"It goes back a long time, from afar," Friedman said, per Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com. "He may wanna get a restraining order against me."
Gonzalez noted Friedman liked Betts as far back as when the former Boston Red Sox slugger was trying to make the major leagues as a second baseman and the Dodgers president was with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Dodgers also tried and failed to trade for him during the 2019 season.
It is not exactly hard to figure out why Friedman likes Betts.
After all, the four-time All-Star is just 27 years old and already has a World Series crown, American League MVP, four Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers and a batting title on his resume. He is a complete player who can hit for average and power, track down fly balls in the outfield and steal bases with his speed.
He is the type of player teams want to build around for years, but he is also under contract through just the upcoming season.
"We obviously know that his team control is up after 2020," Friedman said. "We're hoping that he falls in love with the team, the city, the fans and wants to be here for a long time."
While that pending free agency will be a concern for the Dodgers down the line, it was an ordeal just to land Betts for the 2020 campaign. ESPN's Jeff Passan reported the Red Sox were "spooked" by the medical reviews of pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol in an initial three-team deal involving the Minnesota Twins.
That led to a lengthy delay and a reshaping of the deals, but Friedman landed his target in a trade that also sent David Price to Los Angeles with outfielder Alex Verdugo, shortstop Jeter Downs and catching prospect Connor Wong headed to Boston.
Betts is the headliner and joins a loaded Dodgers lineup that already includes Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Corey Seager and Max Muncy. Los Angeles has won seven straight National League West crowns but is still looking for its first World Series title since 1988.
If Betts helps it do that, Friedman will be an even bigger fan.