Mookie Betts is in a pretty good place right now. He just won his first go-around in arbitration, taking home a near-record for a first timer with a $10.5 million salary in 2018. Merely staying the course on his current levels of production will mean astronomical salaries in arbitration years two and three, and if he takes his game to a new level, his pay will be something truly amazing to behold.
That gives the Red Sox a very, very big incentive to lock Betts up to a long-term deal. Betts, however, is not interested in talking about that during the season. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe:
It’s the smart financial play for him, for sure. Betts is just 25 right now and, if he stays on his current course, would hit free agency in his prime, at age 28. A deal which buys out his last two years of arbitration and some amount of his free agency would delay true free agency until he’s in his 30s, most likely, and as we’re seeing this year, being a free agent over 30 is not a great place to be.
All of which means, if you’re the Red Sox, and if you want to lock Betts up long term next fall, you had best go hard or go home.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.