By MyFM's Jake Archer - Boston Red Sox star outfielder Mookie Betts could not come to an agreement with the team on what his 2018 salary should be, so instead it was handled by an arbitration panel in a hearing on Wednesday. Now if you don’t know, arbitration eligible players in the MLB will file what they believe they are worth for the upcoming year. The team will counter with a number that they believe works and if the two cannot settle and agree on a deal, the decision will be resolved in a hearing.
Betts filed for an ambitious $10.5 million while the Sox submitted $7.5 million. The panel of three at the hearing decided in favor of Betts, which seems a bit surprising considering it is not far off of the record $10.85 million Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant got earlier this month as a first time eligible player. Betts is Boston’s best player and he’s had quite the career thus far with multiple accolades, but Bryant has trumped him with a league MVP, a Rookie of the Year award and a World Series title. To think Betts is that close to Bryant seems like a bit of a stretch to me honestly.
Though some think that arbitration isn’t as contentious as it seems, this is still not an ideal scenario for the Red Sox. Not only did they lose the case, but they also may have burned the relationship with their star a bit more. This is the second straight offseason in which the two sides have disagreed on what Betts is worth and the outfielder has turned down extension offers in what seems like a message that he’ll be testing the free agent market in a few years.
He had a bit of a down year last year, but Betts will receive a hefty payday once he is eligible to sign with any club. As a Red Sox fan, I’m worried that he may look back at these negotiations and decide he’d rather go to a team that hasn’t openly said he’s not as good as he thinks at every turn.