Will the Red Sox sign Mookie Betts to a long term deal? There was no tension during this offseason and the two side agreed to a $20 million deal for 2019.
In 2016, Betts had a breakout season with a .318 average, .897 OPS, 31 home runs and 113 RBI’s in 672 at-bats. Betts wanted a big raise for the 2017 season but instead got $950k. At the end of the 2017 season, the two sides went to an arbitration hearing and Betts received $10.5 million instead of the $7.5 million the Sox offered him. Ultimately, after his MVP performance in 2018, he deserved the money he got going into the 2019 season.
The question remains, what does that mean long term for the right fielder? President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has stated that he won’t be able to retain all of their key player’s long term. That list also includes Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez. However, it seems Dombrowski is holding Betts as a priority to sign a long term deal too. Betts deserves the money he got for having such a fantastic 2018 season. He led the league in average, runs, and slugging percentage. He also won another Gold Glove award.
Bett’s contract for a long-term deal could be a massive one. However, with some players after they sign a big deal like that the money goes to their heads and they have a disappointing season or they aren’t the same. But I don’t see that happening to Betts. He seems to be a competitor and always strives to be better.
Boston avoiding arbitration with Betts is a sign that a deal could be made long-term but they may have to release some players or trade them. Betts is going to ask for big money and when it comes out how much Bryce Harper is making, Betts will probably want more than that.
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Dombrowski has to prioritize Betts though. He’s got to make sure Betts is committed to staying long term with the Red Sox. Could Betts walk if the Sox don’t give him the money he wants? In my opinion, yes, because he has a World Series under him and has earned individual awards. All he needs now is a massive payday.
I don’t seem him playing for a losing team but a team that will be playoff contenders come October. For example, the Astros, Yankees, and even the Red Sox if the price is right. The two sides had tension after 2016 and 2017 season about coming to terms on a deal. Luckily, there was no tension after the 2018 season because of the massive contribution and he got paid.
Betts put up great numbers in 2018. He had 129 runs, 32 home runs, 80 RBI’s, and an OPS of 1.078. He also had 30 stolen bases. His 2019 projection is pretty good. He’s projected to hit for 24 home runs, 80 RBI’s, has a batting average of .301, and an OPS of .903. He’s also projected to have 21 stolen bases.
If he wants that massive contract someday he’ll have to produce breakout numbers as he did in 2018. Betts will be a free agent after the 2020 season which means he’ll have the next two seasons to prove that he’s worth the money he wants.