As Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports, the Red Sox approached outfielder Mookie Betts during the offseason about the possibility of signing him to a long-term-deal, but the 24-year-old star decided that he’d rather keep going year-to-year and let the arbitration process play out.
If Betts keeps playing the way he has since breaking into the majors back in 2014, he stands to earn a massive payday when he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season. Over his first 1,883 major-league plate appearances, Betts has posted a .300/.356/.500 slash line with 65 homers and 65 steals. He’s also been one of the best right fielders in the majors, as he led MLB right fielders in defensive runs saved last season and is doing so again this year.
Betts broke out in a major way during the 2016 season, posting a .318/.363/.534 slash line while posting career highs in home runs (31), RBI (113), and stolen bases (26), and he finished second to Mike Trout in AL MVP voting. This year, he’s hitting .280/.360/.500 with 11 homers and 11 steals through 286 plate appearances.
Betts is far from the first young star who’s been hesitant about signing a long-term deal. The Cubs reportedly approached Kris Bryant about a multi-year extension last winter, but he wasn’t interested. Similar sentiments have been expressed by Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, who reportedly rejected an extension worth $100 million, and Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, whose agent told Heyman in April that his client “is never going to do an (early) multiyear contract” before he hits the free-agent market following the 2021 season.