It was announced today that Mookie Betts, star right fielder for the Boston Red Sox, won his arbitration case awarding him $10.5 million this upcoming season. The Red Sox wanted to only pay him $7.5 million but a panel of judges awarded him the higher amount. This might be good for the Red Sox to keep Betts happy in hopes that he will stay with the team after this year. This was an important step in the relationship with Betts and the Red Sox that could either end this season or not for many more years.

Betts is coming off a good year with the Red Sox but not his best of his career. He is still only 25 years old and still hasn’t entered his prime yet. He has been an important part of the Red Sox lineup over the past three seasons, and this year he may be the best hitter on the entire team. Last season he hit .264 with 24 home runs and 102 runs batted in. Betts also added 26 stolen bases. These stats were good enough to finish sixth in the American League Most Valuable Player Voting despite not even being the best year of his young career. He also won his second consecutive gold glove award. In the 2016 season, Betts finished second in the MVP voting by hitting .318 with 31 home runs and 118 runs batted in. Along with his first gold glove award, he won a silver slugger award. Betts has had a great two year run with the Red Sox.

The Red Sox have lost in the first round of the playoffs in the last two seasons. Unless they make a couple of big signings before the season starts they won’t be better talent wise that they were last year. They are going to need some players to produce more to carry them into the next round of the playoffs. One of those players can be Betts, who has already shown what he is capable of. If he can return to his 2016 form that will be a big boost for the Red Sox offense, and if other players pick up the slack too, they could have a deep playoff run in them. It’s going to take a lot of improvement from a lot of players but Betts has to be one of the top guys if a World Series trophy is in the near future.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

PLAYERS: Mookie Betts
TEAMS: Boston Red Sox
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