Mookie Betts, Red Sox, agree to record $27 million deal

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Mookie Betts and the Boston Red Sox agreed to a one-year, $27 million contract for the 2020 season. It’s the largest one-year salary for an arbitration-eligible player in history. The previous record came last year when Nolan Arenado and the Rockies agreed to a $26 million pact.

Arenado’s deal led to negotiations for a $260 million, eight-year deal. Betts, like Arenado a year ago, has one year left before he can be an unrestricted free agent. The Red Sox are rumored to be at least exploring a trade of Betts, as the club signaled earlier this offseason that they would like to get below the Competitive Balance Tax threshold of $208 million in total payroll. Another option would be to sign him to an extension. Another option would be to simply pay him his $27 million and see if he leaves via free agency a year from now.

Part of that calculus: Sox’ DH J.D. Martinez declined to opt-out of his contract. Earlier this offseason the President of the Red Sox said it would be “difficult” to keep both Betts and Martinez and still get below the the threshold. We’ll soon see how difficult that is or if, for that matter, the Sox still stick with that plan.

Either way, the four-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner, and 2018 MVP Award winner knows what he’ll make, at the very least, in 2020.

You can track all of the other arbitration-avoiding deals here.

Source: Aaron Judge, Yankees reach $360M, 9-year deal

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Aaron Judge has agreed to return to the New York Yankees on a $360 million, nine-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday because the deal had not been announced.

Judge will earn $40 million per season, the highest average annual payout for a position player. The contract trails only Mike Trout’s $426.5 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts’ $365 million pact with the Los Angeles Dodgers for biggest in baseball history.

Judge was offered a long-term deal by New York before last season that was worth $213.5 million over seven years from 2023-29. But he turned it down in the hours before opening day in April.

The 6-foot-7 Judge bet on himself — and won.

Judge set an American League record with 62 homers in 2022, powering the Yankees to the AL East title. He also tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs and just missed a Triple Crown with a .311 batting average.

New York was swept by Houston in the AL Championship Series, but Judge became the first AL MVP for the Yankees since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.

Judge, 30, was selected by New York in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft and made his big league debut in 2016, homering in his first at-bat.

A year later, he was one of baseball’s breakout stars. He hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 2017, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award. The four-time All-Star has 220 homers and 497 RBIs in seven big league seasons.