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.
This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.
The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.
As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.