NEW YORK (AP) – Outfielder Mookie Betts agreed Friday to a $27 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, the largest one-year salary for an arbitration-eligible player, while Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant got an $18.6 million, one-year deal.
Cincinnati pitcher Trevor Bauer struck a $17.5 million agreement after winning hearings against Cleveland the previous two winters, and Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor also agreed to $17.5 million.
NL MVP Cody Bellinger agreed at $11.5 million, the largest amount for a player eligible for arbitration for the first time. New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, also eligible for the first time, received an $8.5 million deal.
Among 155 players eligible for arbitration at the start of the day, just 20 remained headed for hearings next month after exchanging proposed arbitration salaries with teams.
Houston outfielder George Springer asked for a raise from $12.15 million to $22.5 million and was offered $17.5 million in the biggest gap.
Just 10 cases went to hearings last year, and players won six.
Betts’ deal topped the $26 million agreement last winter for Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado, which led to negotiations for a $260 million, eight-year deal. A four-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, Betts is eligible for free agency after this season.
He was voted the American League MVP in 2018, when he hit a major league-leading .346 with 32 homers and 80 RBIs, then helped the Red Sox to the World Series title. He hit .295 last season with 29 homers and 80 RBIs.
Agent Scott Boras and his staff negotiated 19 contracts for arbitration-eligible players totaling $117.75 million, raising the company’s offseason total to $1,134,250,000 with a deal still to be reached for free agent outfielder Nick Castellanos. Boras’ agreements Friday included Bryant, Bellinger, Yankees pitcher James Paxton ($12.5 million) and Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager ($7.6 million).
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