As part of the day’s chatter surrounding Mike Trout’s new deal with the Angels, Joel Sherman of the New York Post took a look back at some of the Red Sox’ attempts to hammer out a contract with their own star outfielder. Mookie Betts has rebuffed several prior efforts from the Boston organization, it seems.
In particular, per Sherman, Betts said no to an eye-popping offer after the 2017 campaign. The proposal was worth $200MM over eight years for Betts, who was then heading into his first season of arbitration eligibility on the heels of a good but not great season. Assuming that there was fully $200MM in guaranteed money involved, that would have easily set a new high-water mark for a first-time arb-eligible player, topping Buster Posey’s $159MM contract (as a Super Two) and Freddie Freeman’s $135MM deal (3+ service class).
Betts instead preferred to take the arbitration route, defeating the club in a hearing and earning a $10.5MM salary as a first-year arb player. After putting up a monster 2018 season and taking home MVP honors, he agreed to a cool $20MM salary for 2019 — his second (and second-to-last) season of arb eligibility.
With over $30MM in career earnings already in his pocket, and Trout no longer looming as a co-star in the 2020-21 free agent market, the 26-year-old Betts could ultimately command a record-setting deal of his own. One wonders whether the Sox would have to beat the Trout deal (ten years, $360MM in new money) to keep Betts from testing free agency — if he’s willing even to consider new offers before hitting the open market.