Betts has declined massive contract extension offers in recent years (reportedly seven years and 0 million in 2017), and he has made it no secret he’s interested in exploring the free-agent market. With his recent arbitration settlement, his future with the Red Sox isn’t made that much clearer, but his importance to the Red Sox is as clear as day.
Betts, a four-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, has been the subject of frequent trade rumors this offseason. The Red Sox, under new chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, have reportedly said that they are not shopping Betts but it will be impossible for the club to both keep Betts and stay under the luxury tax. Especially if the club returns pitchers Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and David Price to the roster in 2020, the trio are set to earn a combined million next season. The team’s efforts to reduce payroll were made even more difficult when J.D. Martinez declined to use his opt-out for his current five-year, 0 million deal.
For a team that’s looking to cut costs this offseason, it would certainly hurt if they were to lose Betts, one of the top talents in the league and a homegrown player. According to Sportsline data scientist Stephen Oh, the Red Sox would be projected to lose 4.3 games without Betts on the roster and their postseason projection would drop from 71.1 to 49.5 percent if he were to get dealt (without knowing what Boston receives in return). It’s obviously too early to project win totals, but the obvious point stands that Betts is one of sport’s most valuable players and he’d be sorely missed in Boston. Betts, 27, hit .295/.391/.524 (135 OPS+) with 6.8 WAR, 29 home runs, 80 RBI and a majors best 135 runs. The 2018 AL MVP is set to enter free agency at the end of the 2020 season. 
The Boston Red Sox and outfielder Mookie Betts have avoided arbitration with a record million deal, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The two sides agreed to a deal on Friday, the deadline for teams and arbitration-eligible players to submit salary figures. The million salary breaks the arbitration record of million set by Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado last offseason. Betts’ salary for the 2020 season is a million increase from the million he earned in 2019.
As mentioned above, Betts’ hefty deal for the 2020 season is the largest highest single-season arbitration contract ever, passing Arenado’s record by one million. After Arenado settled for million last offseason, he later signed a long-term extension with the Rockies. If Betts were to follow in Arenado’s footsteps and if they don’t trade any of their core players, it would mean that the Red Sox would have to dismiss their goal — set by owner John Henry — of staying under the luxury tax threshold for 2020 in order to lock Betts down long-term with an extension.