Reigning MVP Mookie Betts made history with a one-year, $20 million deal that includes $400,000 in incentives in his second year of arbitration. Betts tops his $18.7 million projection by a comfortable margin.
Betts set a new record for the largest raise given in arbitration, as his salary nearly doubles from the $10.5 he made last year. New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom would break that record hours later, jumping from $7.4 million to $17 million.
He may not have held that record for long but Betts did set another that won’t be topped this year. His salary is the highest for any second or third-year eligible player. The only cases in which someone has earned north of $20 million through the arbitration process are Super 2 players in their fourth year of eligibility.
This is a turn events from last year when the Red Sox were unable to reach an agreement with Betts. The sides went to an arbitration hearing that ultimately went in favor of the player. Negotiations clearly went much smoother this time, which may bode well for the future. Betts may set another record in his third and final year of arbitration next winter before hitting the free agent market in 2021. While an early long-term extension appears unlikely, the front office obviously wants to remain in the good graces of their superstar.
Betts won a batting title by hitting .346 while leading the league with a .640 SLG. He set career-highs with 32 homers and 30 steals to join the rare 30/30 club. Betts also won his third consecutive Gold Glove and the second Silver Slugger award of his career.
The 26-year old has established himself as the best player in baseball and he’ll continue to lead the way for the defending World Series champions.