Red Sox

Sox aren't villains in arbitration loss to Betts

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Sox aren't villains in arbitration loss to Betts

Red Sox star right fielder Mookie Betts on Wednesday was ruled the winner of his arbitration case, pulling in $10.5 million, a near-record salary for a player in his first year of arbitration eligibility.

An arbitration panel heard Betts’ case on Tuesday. The Red Sox filed for a $7.5 million salary in 2018. The panel chooses between the two figures rather than settling on a midpoint, which the parties attempted to do but could not, leading to the hearing.

It’s a big win for not only Betts, 25, and his reps at the Legacy Agency, but for all first-year eligible players and the Players Association. Teams thus far have stayed away from older free agents this winter, leading to some thought that the system needs to be changed so that younger players are better compensated. This decision doesn’t overhaul the system, but does set a new precedent in the arbitration process. 

The runner-up to Mike Trout for American League MVP in 2016, Betts made $950,000 in 2017. 

Kris Bryant and the Cubs settled at $10.85 million earlier this month, setting the record salary for any first-year arbitration-eligible player. Betts’ salary is a record for a first-year eligible player who actually went to a hearing and did not settle beforehand.

An arbitration hearing is never desirable for either party. A player has to sit in a room and hear, from the team, why the club thinks he deserves less money than he wants. But fears that Betts' relationship with the Red Sox will be hurt long term are overstated. Betts is on track to make a ton of money via free agency (or via an extension), and whatever hard feelings may arise won't alter that overall picture: Betts is going to require a hug sum of money at some point as long as he stays healthy. 

The bottom line is the Sox someday must pay up or see Betts walk. They should not be looked at as villains simply because they went to a hearing with a star player.

Salary arbitration is a different valuation than the free-agent, open market. Betts, were he a free agent, is worth much more than $10.5 million -- easily. But within the framework of the system, Betts' ask was bold. The Red Sox have gone to two hearings in the last 16 years. Fernando Abad's case last year, which the Sox won, was the team's first since 2002. They're not ones to strong arm players in the arbitration process. The team's history and the filing numbers involved in this case made the hearing an understandable outcome.

Now that Betts is in the arbitration system, and he has his first seven-figure payday, any urgency to take a long term deal is likely lessened. But there was never a sense he felt urgency to do so previously.

Unlike Bryant, Betts neither won an MVP or Rookie of the Year award. It's possible that the arbitration panel valued Betts' defense (and, potentially, advanced defensive metrics) more highly than it would have in the past.

Players accumulate service time every year they’re in the majors. After three years of service time, you typically become arbitration-eligible for the first time. Players become free agents after six years of service time.


Red Sox call up Lin as protection for Bogaerts' injury

Red Sox call up Lin as protection for Bogaerts' injury

With Xander Bogaerts out tonight - he was called day-to-day by manager Alex Cora - after injuring his left index finger, the Red Sox have called up infielder Tzu-Wei Lin from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Bogaerts injured the finger sliding into second while stealing the base in the 14-10 victory over the Mariners on Friday night. Left-handed reliever Robby Scott was sent to Pawtucket to make room for Lin.

Lin was hitting .299 for the PawSox after falling as low as .188. He had a 16-game hitting streak that ended June 14.

Scott was called up this week to make his 2018 Red Sox debut. He appeared in one game, he took the loss against the Twins Tuesday night when he walked a batter and hit a batter - who both came around to score - when he started the eighth inning with the score tied at 2. 



NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Hanley Ramirez making headlines the wrong way

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NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Hanley Ramirez making headlines the wrong way

1:29 - It was reported Friday that Hanley Ramirez has been linked to an ongoing, possible drug-related investigation. Evan Drellich joins Trenni Kusnierek and Mike Giardi from Fenway Park to break down what he knows about the situation.

6:56 - A. Sherrod Blakely sits down with Tom Giles and Danielle Trotta to explain why he’s not concerned about Celtics draft pick Robert Williams missing his first conference call with the media.

9:55 - Michael Holley, A. Sherrod Blakely and Adam Himmelsbach play a round of buy or sell surrounding the aftermath of Thursday’s draft results.