BOSTON (CBS) — Mookie Betts reportedly turned down a big-money deal from the Boston Red Sox following the 2017 season, a move that continues to pay off for the defending AL MVP.
Betts will make $20 million next season, a record amount for a player in their second year of arbitration. He could have been making $25 million if he had accepted an offer from the Red Sox two winters ago, but that would have cost him quite a bit in the long run given the ridiculous amounts of cash that are now being handed out to Major League Baseball’s best and brightest stars.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Betts said no thank you to an eight-year, $200 million extension from the Red Sox in 2017:
Betts rejected an eight-year, $200 million extension proposal following the 2017 season, according to a source. A second source said the Red Sox have made several attempts at a long-term deal with Betts, but that the All-Star has been comfortable with the risks of going a year at a time in exchange for the reward that could come with patience.
While the contracts keep going up for the elite(ish) players in baseball, Betts has also improved his resume markedly. He took home AL MVP honors in 2018 after he led the league in batting average (.346), runs scored (129) and slugging percentage (.640), and then helped the Sox bring home their fourth World Series title since the turn of the century. He received that initial offer after he finished sixth in the MVP voting, so imagine what the asking price will be if he tacks on another MVP award or World Series ring before hitting free agency.
With Manny Machado ($300 million), Bryce Harper ($330 million) and Mike Trout ($430 million) all signing ginormous contracts this winter, Betts figures to be next in line for a monster payday. He gambled on himself two years ago, and that risk should pay off in two years if Betts makes it to free agency, and has the spotlight all to himself.