Mookie Betts, Red Sox avoid arbitration with record one-year, $27 million deal

Mookie Betts avoided arbitration with the Boston Red Sox, agreeing to a one-year, $27 million deal, setting a record for an arbitration-eligible player, according to an official with direct knowledge of the deal.

The official spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

It eclipses Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado’s previous record of $26 million in 2019.

Even though the two sides have agreed, Betts could still be on the trading block. Boston is looking to lower its $244 million payroll, which was the highest in the league in 2019. The Los Angeles Dodgers had engaged in exploratory talks with the Red Sox in December, but those have since cooled.

Betts, 27, hit .295 with 29 home runs, 80 RBI and a major league high 135 runs scored in 2019. He won the American League MVP award in 2018 and is one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, winning Gold Glove awards each of the past four seasons.

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