Mookie Betts is in a pretty good place right now. He just won his first go-around in arbitration, taking home a near-record for a first timer with a $10.5 million salary in 2018. Merely staying the course on his current levels of production will mean astronomical salaries in arbitration years two and three, and if he takes his game to a new level, his pay will be something truly amazing to behold.
That gives the Red Sox a very, very big incentive to lock Betts up to a long-term deal. Betts, however, is not interested in talking about that during the season. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe:
It’s the smart financial play for him, for sure. Betts is just 25 right now and, if he stays on his current course, would hit free agency in his prime, at age 28. A deal which buys out his last two years of arbitration and some amount of his free agency would delay true free agency until he’s in his 30s, most likely, and as we’re seeing this year, being a free agent over 30 is not a great place to be.
All of which means, if you’re the Red Sox, and if you want to lock Betts up long term next fall, you had best go hard or go home.