One of the more confusing parts of the MLB off-season is the arbitration process. Before a player can hit free agency, they must essentially play on three separate one-year contracts before with their original team. If the team and the player cannot agree to a deal, they take their case to major league offices who ultimately decide the case. Fortunately, the Red Sox won’t have to go through all that drama, as the Boston Red Sox reached agreements with all 12 of their arbitration-eligible players.
Boston Red Sox Avoid Arbitration, Reach Agreement With All 12 Players
Here are the final deals for the newly-signed players:
Mookie Betts – $20 million
Xander Bogaerts – $12 million
Jackie Bradley Jr. – $8.55 million
Eduardo Rodriguez – $4.3 million
Brock Holt – $3.575 million
Tyler Thornburg – $1.75 million (non-guaranteed)
Sandy Leon – $2.475 million
Matt Barnes – $1.6 million
Brandon Workman – $1.15 million
Steven Wright – $1.375 million
Heath Hembree – $1.3125 million
Blake Swihart – $0.91 million
Mookie Betts capitalized on his MVP campaign by earning the highest salary in the history of the arbitration process. Betts and the Red Sox couldn’t agree to a deal last season, forcing the team to go through the arbitration process. Betts ultimately won the battle, but “only” make $10.5 million in 2018.
It looked like the Red Sox might head down the same road this off-season, but the two sides finally reached an agreement on Friday. This is only Betts’ second year in arbitration and he won’t hit unrestricted free agency until after the 2020 season. Despite his hefty salary, having Betts for $20 million is nothing short of highway robbery.
It’s hard to imagine the Red Sox holding on to Sandy Leon with this new price tag. The Red Sox already have Christian Vazquez locked up long-term and have Blake Swihart under team control until 2022. Leon is a great defensive catcher but offers absolutely nothing at the plate. Boston is already near the luxury tax line and could easily choose to save some money by dealing Leon. The Red Sox won’t get much in return for Leon, but somebody will part with a low-level prospect for an above-average defensive catcher like Leon.
The Red Sox signed Tyler Thornburg to a one-year deal, but that doesn’t guarantee him a spot on the roster. Thornburg’s contract isn’t guaranteed, so the Red Sox could part ways with him prior to Opening Day without any financial repercussions. Thornburg struggled during 2018, but it was also his first time pitching in over a year. Hopefully, Thornburg can prove something in spring training and earn a place in the Red Sox bullpen.