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.
We’ve talked a lot about Curt Schilling’s Hall of Fame candidacy over the years.
Bill has argued that, if voters are going to use the character clause to keep certain players out, they should keep Curt Schilling out. I’ve differed on that, not because I think Schilling is a good person — he’s loathsome, actually — but because I find the character clause to be illegitimate and would never, if I had a vote, use it to impact my vote. So, yes, I’d put Schilling on my ballot if I had one.
I’m not alone in this, of course. At the moment Schilling has support on about 72% of ballots which have been made public. My guess is that he’ll fall a tad short when results are announced tomorrow — non-public ballots tend to include fewer players on them — but we’ll see.
I am not the only non-BBWAA member who would vote for Schilling. He’s got some top level support too. From the President of the United States:
Ballots had to be submitted by December 31, so it’s not like this is gonna have any impact on the vote totals. If it came earlier, though, one wonders if it would. And one wonders if that’d help Schilling or hurt him.