Arbitration Update - Mookie Sets Record

Jim Monaghan
Content Coordinator

If you're looking for the slightest bit of optimistic news about Mookie Betts remaining in a Red Sox uniform beyond the 2020 season, it may have come today.

Photo courtesy of NESN
Betts and the team avoided the arbitration process when the outfielder agreed to a record $27 million from the team, setting a record for a player in his final year of arbitration eligibility.

That dollar amount certainly doesn't help the Red Sox in their reported attempt to get below the luxury tax threshold of $208 million this year, but by avoiding arbitration, the team sidestepped the potentially ugly process of player versus team.

Betts has said in recent years that he plans on going to free agency after 2020 and it's a fair bet that his annual contract will be for at least seven years with a starting salary north of $27 million per year. By not going to arbitration, the slight advantage the Red Sox have in trying to negotiate a long-term deal is that Betts wasn't subjected to listening to the team undervalue his ability in an arbitration procedure.

It's certainly not a guarantee, of course, that Mookie will be in a Red Sox uniform on Opening Day 2021, but it's a possible start to the process of making that happen.

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