The Boston Red Sox have known for a few years just how good Mookie Betts is. They’ve also known that, one day, his talent would hit them directly in the check book.
On Friday, Betts received a record-setting one-year, $27 million contract from Boston to avoid arbitration. The deal tops Nolan Arenado’s $26 million arbitration deal with the Colorado Rockies last season and comes one year after he received a $20 million from Boston to avoid arbitration.
The 27-year-olrd Nashville native and Overton High School alum hit .295 last season with 29 home runs, 80 RBIs and led the American League with 135 runs scored. Since joining the league in 2014, Betts has been a four-time All-Star, won the American League MVP and a World Series (both in 2018), been a three-time Silver Slugger winner, a four-time Gold Glove winner, the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year and the 2018 AL batting champion.
Since his rookie year, Betts has led the major leagues in runs scored (613) and led the Red Sox in home runs (139). He ranks second in MLB during that span in extra-base hits (394) and fourth in hits (965), while having the second-most RBIs on the Red Sox (470).
Betts will be a free agent after the 2020 season and he has continuously expressed his desire to test free agency after that. However, that doesn’t necessarily rule out a return to the Red Sox as Betts has stated he loves Boston and will listen to any contract extensions thrown his way.
Boston has of late also signed Jackie Bradley Jr. ($11 million), Brandon Workman ($3.5 million), Matt Barnes ($3.1 million) and Heath Hembree ($1.62 million) to extensions. That means Betts’ high salary could make him a prime trade target this season as Red Sox executives have expressed the intention to get below Major League Baseball's $208 million luxury-tax threshold.
This story originally appeared in our sister publication, the Nashville Post.