Betts' $27M, Bryant's $18.6M skip arbitration with big deals
NEW YORK, NY – Outfielder Mookie Betts agreed Friday to a $27 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, the largest one-year salary for an arbitration-eligible player, while Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant got an $18.6 million, one-year deal.
Cincinnati pitcher Trevor Bauer struck a $17.5 million agreement after winning hearings against Cleveland the previous two winters, and Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor also agreed to $17.5 million.
NL MVP Cody Bellinger agreed at $11.5 million, the largest amount for a player eligible for arbitration for the first time. New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, also eligible for the first time, received an $8.5 million deal.
Among 155 players eligible for arbitration at the start of the day, just 20 remained headed for hearings next month after exchanging proposed arbitration salaries with teams.
Houston outfielder George Springer asked for a raise from $12.15 million to $22.5 million and was offered $17.5 million in the biggest gap. Philadelphia catcher J.T. Realmuto requested a hike from $6.05 million to $12.4 million and was offered $10 million, and Milwaukee closer Josh Hader asked for a boost from $687,600 to $6.4 million and was offered $4.1 million.
Four of the remaining cases involve the Dodgers, whose last arbitration hearing was a victory over Joe Beimel in 2007. Los Angeles is headed to hearings with outfielder Joc Pederson ($9.5 million vs. $7.75 million), outfielder Chris Taylor ($5.8 million vs. $5.25 million), right-hander Pedro Báez ($4 million vs. $3.5 million) and infielder Max Muncy ($4,675,000 vs. $4 million).
Just 10 cases went to hearings last year, and players won six. A three-person panel hears each case and sides with either the player or the team — no ruling in the middle. Teams can still negotiate an agreement until the arbitrators make a decision.
Betts' deal topped the $26 million agreement last winter for Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado, which led to negotiations for a $260 million, eight-year deal. A four-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, Betts is eligible for free agency after this season.
He was voted the American League MVP in 2018, when he hit a major league-leading .346 with 32 homers and 80 RBIs, then helped the Red Sox to the World Series title. He hit .295 last season with 29 homers and 80 RBIs.
Agent Scott Boras and his staff negotiated 19 contracts for arbitration-eligible players totaling $117.75 million, raising the company's offseason total to $1,134,250,000 with a deal still to be reached for free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Boras' agreements Friday included Bryant, Bellinger, Yankees pitcher James Paxton ($12.5 million) and Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager ($7.6 million).
Twins slugger Miguel Sanó agreed to a $30 million, three-year contract, pending a physical, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. Arizona left fielder David Peralta also reached a rare multiyear agreement on swap day, a $22 million, three-year contract, a person familiar with that deal told the AP. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because the deals hadn't been announced.
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