Mookie Betts and the Boston Red Sox went to an arbitration hearing yesterday. Betts was asking for $10.5 million and the Red Sox countered at $7.5 million. Betts won, and now he’ll be making eight figures for 2018.
This was Betts first year of arbitration eligibility. He won’t hit free agency until 2021. That suggests that the 2016 MVP runner-up is in for either a couple more big paydays before hitting the market or a long-term deal from the Red Sox that will buy out his two remaining years of arbitration and, an all likelihood, part of his free agency.
Betts, 25, hit .264/.344/.459 with 24 homers and 102 RBI while playing Gold Glove right field in 2017. For his career he’s a .292/.351/.488 hitter with two Gold Gloves on his mantle. He’s also stolen 80 bases in three full seasons and part of a fourth.
The Boston Red Sox plan to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they’re making to make room for him on the roster is a big one too: they plan to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment.
The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported the impending transaction. He was told by a major league source that Ramirez was informed this morning he’ll be moved off the roster. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.
Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.
Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however, and long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.