Friday marked the deadline for arbitration-eligible players to reach an agreement with their respective MLB teams.
As a result, the Red Sox had a busy day, agreeing to deals with five different players, including a record-breaking contract with star outfielder Mookie Betts. However, the club did not come to terms on salaries for outfielder Andrew Benintendi and pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez.
Let’s take a look at the arbitration salaries the Red Sox agreed to, as well as what the team’s payroll situation looks like a month out from the start of Spring Training.
Mookie Betts, one-year, $27 million: Betts’s final-year arbitration deal is the largest in MLB history, eclipsing Nolan Arenado’s $26 million salary last offseason. Betts made $20.1 million in 2019 when he was the reigning American League MVP, and he’s now the second-highest paid Red Sox player behind David Price. Now the question arises. Will Betts be dealt before the trade deadline?
Jackie Bradley Jr, one-year, $11 million: Like Betts, Bradley is also entering his final season under team control and has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason. Bradley got a $2.5 million raise from last season. As the fifth-highest paid position player on the roster, the center fielder’s $11 million salary is certainly tradable if the Red Sox decide to go that route.
Brandon Workman, one-year, $3.5 million: The right-hander had a dominant 2019 season out of the bullpen for the Red Sox, posting a 1.88 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 71 2/3 innings. Workman ranked sixth on Fan Graphs in WAR among all qualified relievers and led major league relievers in opponent batting average (.123), slugging (.166), and OPS (.433). He made just $1.15 million in 2019 and will be a free agent after the season.
Matt Barnes, one-year, $3.1 million: Another powerful right-handed reliever, Barnes was second in K/9 (15.39) for relievers in 2019, striking out 110 batters in 64 1/3 innings. He finished with a 3.78 ERA, his third straight season with a sub-4.00 ERA. In 2019, Barnes earned $1.6 million. He’ll be a free agent after the 2021 season.
Heath Hembree, one-year, $1.6 million: Hembree had an injury-riddled 2019 season, pitching only 39 2/3 innings in 45 games out of the bullpen. The right-hander had a 3.86 ERA and struck out 47 batters. Hembree made $1.3 million in 2019 and has one more year of arbitration remaining before he becomes a free agent after the 2021 season.
Andrew Benintendi, not settled: In his first year as an arbitration-eligible player, Benintendi submitted $4.15 million but the Red Sox countered at $3.4 million. The case will now head to a hearing. Benintendi hit a career-low .266 with 13 home runs in 2019, when he made $717,500. Benintendi will be a free agent after the 2022 season.
Eduardo Rodriguez, not settled: Coming off a breakout 2019 season in which he made a team-best 34 starts and posted a career-best 3.81 ERA, the left-hander submitted $8.975 million. The Red Sox were not far off at $8.3 million. Like Benintendi, the negotiation will head to a hearing. Rodriguez made $4.3 million in his second season of arbitration in 2019. He’ll be a free agent after the 2021 season.
While the Benintendi and Rodriguez deals still have to be settled, Spotrac has the Red Sox current payroll at $219 million, the second highest in major league baseball behind the New York Yankees. The Red Sox payroll was $229 million in 2019, and the club would like to get under the $208 million mark for the 2020 season.