Arbitration Breakdown: Mookie Betts – MLB Trade Rumors

Over the approaching days, I’m discussing a few of the increased profile upcoming arbitration instances. Up to now, we’ve previewed Josh Bell, Cody Bellinger, Francisco Lindor, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, George Springer, and Jonathan Villar. For these items, I rely partly on my arbitration mannequin developed completely for MLB Commerce Rumors, however will even escape some attention-grabbing comparables and decide the place the mannequin may be mistaken. 2020 projections can be found proper right here. 

As first-year arbitration awards proceed to develop with the income and payrolls in baseball right this moment, they supply increased platforms by way of which arbitration data in later years will be extra simply damaged. Mookie Betts will undergo the arbitration course of yet another time after incomes $20.1MM together with bonuses throughout his penultimate 12 months by way of the arb course of, placing him in line to probably break Nolan Arenado’s document of $26MM his final time by way of arbitration. Betts’ potential wage is excessive sufficient that he has continuously been featured in commerce rumors because the Crimson Sox search to reset themselves beneath the luxurious tax threshold in 2020.

Both method, Betts’ case goes to concurrently take a big chunk of somebody’s payroll whereas additionally being a relative discount to similarly-producing free brokers. After a historic season in 2018 by which Betts hit 32 dwelling runs, stole 30 bases, and racked up a tremendous slash line of .346/.438/.640, Betts had a barely extra pedestrian 12 months — by his requirements — in 2019. Betts batted .295 and hit 29 dwelling runs whereas stealing 16 bases, whereas recording 80 RBI and a league-leading 135 runs scored.

The mannequin makes use of the widely correct proven fact that gamers’ salaries in subsequent years in arbitration are decided as raises based mostly on their platform 12 months manufacturing alone. So whereas Betts could not have had a historic season, he does have case for breaking Arenado’s document, due to Betts’ $20.1MM wage in 2019. My mannequin tasks a $7.6MM increase for 2020, which might land the Crimson Sox outfielder at $27.7MM.

Even coming all the way down to earth in 2019, Betts nonetheless put up uncommon numbers. There are only a few hitters who’ve reached their third 12 months of arbitration eligibility with a minimum of 25 dwelling runs and double-digit stolen bases of their platform 12 months — within the final 5 years, solely 4 gamers hit each plateaus. Charlie Blackmon received a $6.7MM increase in 2018 after hitting .331 with 37 homers, 104 RBI, and 14 steals the prior 12 months.

Though Blackmon’s batting common clearly bested Betts’ .295, the opposite three hitters had far decrease averages. Todd Frazier hit .225 with 40 HR, 98 RBI, and 15 steals and received only a $3.75MM increase in 2017. Didi Gregorius hit .268/27/86 with 10 stolen bases and received a $3.5MM increase final 12 months, whereas Aaron Hicks hit .248/27/79 with 11 stolen bases final 12 months en path to a $3.2MM increase.  Nonetheless, the Crimson Sox might argue that Betts could deserve a smaller bump over Frazier, Gregorius, and Hicks, and probably lower than Blackmon’s $6.7MM.

Clearly, we’re limiting the potential listing of comparables by requiring double-digit stolen bases. A pair more moderen names (each third basemen) emerge when dropping that requirement. Anthony Rendon received a $6.5MM increase in 2018 after placing up a strong .301/25/100 marketing campaign — and that might simply function a benchmark for Betts. Arenado final 12 months received an $8.25MM increase after a .297/38/110 season. Provided that Arenado’s numbers have been at Coors Subject, Betts might definitely argue for that as a foundation.

I believe Betts would be capable to efficiently argue for a minimum of topping Rendon’s $6.5MM, though Blackmon’s $6.7MM may very well be a ceiling. I might see Betts even getting as much as an $8.25MM increase like Arenado did final 12 months as properly, although that may be harder. Based mostly on this listing of potential comps, the $5.9MM Betts would wish to interrupt Arenado’s document positively appears doable if not assured, and the mannequin’s $7.6MM projection does appear out of attain both.

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