Red Sox, Betts Settle at $20 Million to Avoid Arbitration

(Photo Credit: Adam Glanzman - Getty Images)

As the Red Sox try and decide just how much money they will have left to spend on bullpen help, they have locked down another vital piece to the team’s success.

In the time of year where everyone is settling for arbitration, the Red Sox have officially settled with Mookie Betts on $20 million for the 2019 season. The 26-year-old is coming off of his first MVP-campaign, and his second season being a finalist—slashing .346/.438/.640, with a share of the 30/30 club.

Betts also won his third consecutive Gold Glove and made All-Star game for the third year in a row last season—which all are reasons why Betts became the highest-paid player in the history of second-time-eligible settlements, according to Jeff Passan.

But this settlement could prove very risky for Dave Dombrowski and the Boston Red Sox. If they’re unable to ink Betts to an extension during the 2019 season and Betts comes even close to the same season as he put up in 2018, the arbitration settlement could be even higher than $20 million.

That being said, what’s next for the Red Sox in 2019? They still have Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Matt Barnes, Brock Holt, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Brandon Workman all awaiting the news on their financial status for next season. With this Betts settlement, the Red Sox are left with a payroll of $191 million—leaving them just $15 million to work with for the remainder of the offseason, unless they make a trade.

That doesn’t even include everyone on pre-arbitration—the likes of Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers don’t have a set salary for the 2019 season either. This makes it increasingly unlikely for the Red Sox to add any outside pieces to the puzzle without making some sort of a trade. Whether it be someone as high in salary as a Rick Porcello, or someone as minor as an Eduardo Nuñez is yet to be determined of course.

The Red Sox still can go into the 2019 season knowing that they took care of business in regards to the face of their franchise. However, it could cause some problems in regards to how they settle on the rest of their arbitration players, as well as the rest of the free agents on the board.

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