Betts agrees to record $27 mil­lion deal with Red Sox

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS -

BOS­TON (AP) >> Out­fielder Mookie Betts agreed Fri­day to a $27 mil­lion con­tract with the Bos­ton Red Sox, the largest one-year salary for an ar­bi­tra­tion-el­i­gi­ble player.

Out­fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. also agreed to an $11 mil­lion deal, en­sur­ing Bos­ton will avoid salary ar­bi­tra­tion with two of its big­gest stars.

Out­fielder An­drew Ben­in­tendi and left-handed starter Eduardo Ro­dríguez did not agree to deals and swapped num­bers for ar­bi­tra­tion. Ben­in­tendi asked for $4.15 mil­lion and was of­fered $3.4 mil­lion — a big raise from his $717,500 salary in 2019. Ro­dríguez is seek­ing $8,975,000 and was of­fered $8.3 mil­lion, a bump from $4,325,000.

Bos­ton also agreed to salar­ies for re­liev­ers Bran­don Work­man ($3.5 mil­lion), Matt Barnes ($3.1 mil­lion) and Heath Hem­bree ($1,612,500)

Betts’ deal topped the $26 mil­lion agree­ment last win­ter for third base­man Nolan Are­nado, which led to ne­go­ti­a­tions for a $260 mil­lion, eight-year deal.

A four-time All-Star and four­time Gold Glove win­ner, Betts is el­i­gi­ble for free agency af­ter this sea­son.

He was voted the Amer­i­can League MVP in 2018, when he hit a ma­jor league-lead­ing .346 with 32 homers and 80 RBIs, then helped the Red Sox to the World Series ti­tle. He hit .295 last sea­son with 29 homers and 80 RBIs.

Bradley is known for his spec­tac­u­lar plays in the out­field, but his bat has been a li­a­bil­ity at times. He is streaky, hit­ting .315 with five homers and 14 RBIs in June but just .225 for the sea­son as a whole, with 21 homers and 62 RBIs. He led the league in putouts and as­sists as a cen­ter fielder.

Last year was a set­back for the 25-year-old Ben­in­tendi in vir­tu­ally ev­ery of­fen­sive cat­e­gory, rais­ing con­cerns that he has hit his ceil­ing. Ben­in­tendi bat­ted .266 in 2019 with 13 homers, 68 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.

Af­ter years of wait­ing for Ro­dríguez to de­velop into a stal­wart of the ro­ta­tion, he fi­nally emerged as a front-line, if un­spec­tac­u­lar, starter. He made ev­ery start, topped 200 in­nings for the first time and had a chance at 20 wins go­ing into the reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale. In all, that added up to a 19-6 record, with a 3.81 ERA in 203 1/3 in­nings, all the best in his ca­reer.

Thrust into the de facto closer role by the de­par­ture of Craig Kim­brel, Work­man emerged as a de­pend­able late-in­ning re­liever. At the age of 30, he posted a 10-1 record with 16 saves and a 1.88 ERA, strik­ing out 104 bat­ters — all the best in his ca­reer.

Barnes, 29, has also emerged as a re­li­able arm in the bullpen, good for 60plus ap­pear­ances a year and a lot of strike­outs. Al­though the right-han­der’s strike­outs have in­creased each year, he walked a ca­reer-high 38 bat­ters in 64 in­nings in 2019, a small step back.

Hem­bree, a 30-year-old right-han­der missed time in the mid­dle of the sea­son but had a 3.86 ERA in 45 ap­pear­ances.

Bos­ton also ac­quired right-han­der Austin Brice from the Mi­ami Mar­lins in ex­change for mi­nor league short­stop Angeudis San­tos. In­fielder Marco Hernán­dez was des­ig­nated for as­sign­ment.

Brice, a 27-year-old re­lief pitcher, had a 3.43 ERA in 36 games last sea­son.


FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Bos­ton Red Sox’s Mookie Betts smiles as he crosses home plate on his solo home run off Oak­land Ath­let­ics start­ing pitcher Aaron Brooks in the first in­ning of a base­ball game at Fen­way Park in Bos­ton.

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