Thanks to the deadline mentioned above, many players today sign agreements avoiding arbitration with their clubs. However, none will be bigger than this: Mookie Betts and the Red Sox have agreed on a one-year contract for $ 20 million.
Betts, who is in his second year of eligibility for arbitration, earned $ 10.5 million last season. He will almost double his salary. He certainly deserved it after hitting 0.346 / 0.438 / 0.640 with 32 homeruns, 30 flights and 129 races and won the AL MVP trophy for the World Series champions.
Needless to say, this is a record contract for a player in his second year of eligibility for arbitration. Assuming it does not fall off a cliff in 2019, it will also break the record for the third year. Or, he will accept a very, very lucrative long-term extension to keep him in Boston and move him away from the free agent market for a very, very long time.
Free agent picker John Axford is looking for a job with the Blue Jays. The right-hander said Saturday that he was ready and willing to assume a mentoring role with the team and that he intended to contact Toronto officials about the possibility of a return in 2019 (via Ben Nicholson-Smith from Sportsnet.ca).
Axford, 35, played most of his 2018 season with the Blue Jays, clocking 4.91, 3 BB / 9 and 8.8 SO / 9 in 51 innings. However, he was traded against the Dodgers on the deadline for right-handed minor leagues, Corey Copping, and threw only 3 2/3 in the last third of the season.
It remains to be seen if the Blue Jays would be receptive to a meeting. Even if they are, Nicholson-Smith points out that the club could exchange Axford again – a possibility that the attacker seemed to take into account in his comments. The right-hander's health is complicated because the last two seasons have given the fWAR of his career to date, having missed a lot of time with a sprained shoulder and a broken fibula. Whether he remains healthy or not in 2019, Axford may well live up to its promise of providing experienced leadership to the young core of the Blue Jays. For now, the ball lies in the camp of the Blue Jays.