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

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox

BOSTON, MA - JULY 12: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after hitting a grand slam against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fourth inning at Fenway Park on July 12, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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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.

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