Betts lone Red Sox going to arbitration hearing

From ESPN - January 12, 2018

How much should Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts get paid this year?

Three judges will decide.

The Red Sox reached one-year contract agreements Friday with nine of their 10 arbitration-eligible players, beating the deadline to exchange figures for a potential hearing. Betts was the lone holdout, and according to Sox assistant general manager Brian O'Halloran, the sides have agreed to let a panel of three arbitrators determine the All-Star right fielder's 2018 salary in a hearing next month.

A date for the hearing has not yet been set. The Red Sox submitted a $7.5 million salary figure for Betts, who is seeking $10.5 million. The panel will choose one figure or the other. If the Sox and Betts' representatives had agreed to continue to negotiate, the sides could have settled on a midpoint at any time before the hearing.

While it's largely atypical for a player to request a hearing if a settlement is not reached before the exchange of salary figures, the "file and trial" approach has become more common over the past few years. The advantage, according to one source, is that the idea of a hearing forces both sides to make more reasonable requests early in the process rather than wasting time and resources trying to bridge an unnecessarily large gap in the weeks before a hearing date.

Arbitration hearings are commonly considered to be unpleasant, with players listening as team officials present reasons to pay them less. But former Houston Astros president Tal Smith, who has prepared more than 1,000 cases as an arbitration consultant for several teams, has long maintained that hearings are not nearly as contentious as outsiders would think.


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