4:05pm: The Boston org has wrapped up deals with all of its dozen arb-eligible players, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe (via Twitter). We’ve covered several other players elsewhere. Notably, shortstop Xander Bogaerts ($12MM) and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. ($8.55MM) have agreed to big salaries.
11:20am: The Red Sox and American League MVP Mookie Betts have settled on a one-year deal worth $20MM, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. The salary figure is a record for a player in his second year of arbitration eligibility. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Betts could earn an additional $400K via awards (Twitter link). Betts, who will remain under team control through 2020, had been projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $18.7MM.
Fresh off a historic 2018 campaign in which he slashed an otherworldly .346/.438/.640 en route to a World Series title, Betts earned himself a $9.5MM raise from his previous salary. His record-setting deal will establish the new standard for players with four-plus years of MLB service time. In fact, notes Jeff Passan of ESPN, Betts’s new contract has been exceeded only by players in their fourth year of arbitration by virtue of the Super Two rule.
Furthermore, this development could be notable for the Red Sox in that the team failed to reach an agreement with their superstar outfielder last winter, leading to an arbitration hearing to determine his salary. It is possible that this settlement could signify an increased willingness to discuss a potential contract extension, for which it appears talks have yet to substantially progress, in the future. However, should the two sides fail to agree to a multi-year extension next offseason–Betts’s last arbitration-eligible season before reaching free agency–the three-time All-Star could command an astronomical salary in his final year of team control; at the very least, Betts appears poised to eclipse–if not shatter–the $23MM record set by Josh Donaldson one year ago, which currently marks the highest one-year arbitration salary ever.