Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox Agree to Record Deal to Avoid Arbitration

Mookie Betts
BOSTON, MA - JULY 12: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after hitting a grand slam against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning at Fenway Park on July 12, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Mookie Betts gets One-Year, $27 Million Deal

Mookie Betts and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a one-year, $27 million deal to avoid going to arbitration. This deal breaks the record that Nolan Arenado held last offseason with his $26 million deal.

Betts and the team avoided arbitration last season as well when they settled on a $20 million deal. The two sides were forced to have a third party settle the agreement in 2018, however. The Red Sox presented Betts with a $7.5 million offer, and Betts countered with $10.5 million — ultimately winning the case.

Betts has been adamant about exploring the free-agent market next winter when he becomes a free agent. This deal is a good sign for the people who want Betts back in Boston next season. Mookie and the team have had trouble agreeing to a salary in these agreements in the past, but it bodes well for their relationship that they’ve been able to avoid arbitration in the last two seasons.

Career to this Point

The 2018 MVP finished last season slashing .295/.391/.524. Betts led all of baseball in runs with 135, supplementing his 29 homers and 80 RBI.

Along with his MVP award, the right fielder has three Silver Sluggers and four consecutive Gold Gloves under his belt. The Gold Gloves are particularly impressive considering Fenway Park has one of the toughest right fields in baseball.

The converted second baseman has a career .301/.374/.519 slash line with 139 total home runs in parts of six seasons with Boston. In each of Betts’ last five seasons, he’s finished in the top-10 in baseball in WAR according to Baseball-Reference. He’s also seen three different seasons in the top-10 in defensive WAR.

Other Red Sox in Arbitration

Along with Mookie, the team also agreed to deals with Brandon Workman for $3.5 million, Matt Barnes for $3.1 million, Heath Hembree for $1.6 million, and Jackie Bradley Jr. for $11 million.

Workman and Hembree were actually two of the bright spots in Boston’s depleted bullpen last season. Workman posted a 1.88 ERA with 13.1 K/9 in 2019, while Hembree held a 3.86 ERA and 10.4 K/9. ¬†While Barnes season wasn’t awful in comparison to his counterparts, he didn’t live up to the lofty expectations set in 2018.

Bradley Jr. has become so well known for his extraordinary play in center field, but it’s time to start questioning whether he’s worth a new contract next winter. The center fielder is notorious for getting hot for about a month of the season but has become a non-factor for the most part.

Andrew Benintendi and Eduardo Rodriguez are two players that Boston couldn’t reach an agreement with. The two will head to an arbitration hearing where a third party will settle their futures.

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