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Mookie Betts, Red Sox avoid arbitration with $20 million deal

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Thanks to the deadline we mentioned earlier, a lot of players are signing arbitration-avoiding deals with their clubs today. None will be bigger than this one, however: Mookie Betts and the Red Sox have agreed to a one-year deal for $20 million.

Betts, who is just in his second year of arbitration-eligibility, made $10.5 million last season, so he’ll nearly double his salary. He certainly earned it, after he hit .346/.438/.640 with 32 homers, 30 steals and 129 runs and won the AL MVP Award for the World Series champions.

Needless to say, this is record deal for a player in his second year of arbitration eligibility. Assuming he doesn’t fall off a cliff in 2019, he’ll shatter the third-year record too. Or, alternatively, he’ll agree to a very, very lucrative long-term extension to keep him in Boston and away from the free agent market for a very, very long time.

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.