NEW YORK – AL MVP Mookie Betts, NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom and major league home run champion Khris Davis reached high-priced one-year deals to avoid salary arbitration, while slugger Nolan Arenado and pitchers Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino and Aaron Nola were among 15 players still on track for hearings.
Betts and the World Series champion Boston Red Sox agreed to a $20 million, one-year contract on Friday, a $9.5 million raise for an arbitration-eligible player that topped pitcher Max Scherzer’s $8.8 million raise from Detroit in 2014.
Betts’ record didn’t last the day, broken when deGrom and the New York Mets agreed at $17 million, a $9.6 million increase.
Davis and the Oakland Athletics reached a $16.5 million deal, a $6 million raise after he hit 48 home runs with a career-high 123 RBIs.
Arenado asked for a record $30 million in arbitration from Colorado and was offered $24 million. He will top the record for a salary for an arbitration-eligible player, a $23 million deal last year by Toronto and third baseman Josh Donaldson.
Among the 157 players eligible for arbitration at the start of the day, 142 reached deals on the busiest day of the offseason.
There will be fewer hearings this winter than last year, when players won 12 of 22 cases argued — the most since 24 in 1990.