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Betts: 'No animosity' over Sox contract renewal

Club inks 18 others to one-year deals
MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox announced Thursday that they renewed the contract of star right fielder Mookie Betts for the 2017 season, meaning they dictated his salary without an agreement from both sides.

Betts, 24, stressed that the negotiations weren't contentious.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox announced Thursday that they renewed the contract of star right fielder Mookie Betts for the 2017 season, meaning they dictated his salary without an agreement from both sides.

Betts, 24, stressed that the negotiations weren't contentious.

"Yeah, nothing bad, no animosity," Betts said. "I'm here to play baseball now. Both sides didn't agree and that's OK. That's part of business. But now we have to switch the focus to baseball."

According to a source, the contract is for $950,000. The Red Sox, as per club policy, didn't announce the amount.

That represents a significant raise from the $566,000 salary Betts earned in 2016, when he broke out as one of the game's best players while earning near the league minimum. Betts led the Majors in total bases and finished second in the American League MVP Award balloting.

"That was his choice. We just couldn't come up with a number that he thought was the right number for him," said Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. "We didn't feel like there were any animosities involved. He just had a different number in mind than what we had. We couldn't come to an agreement, so we renewed him."

Betts' decision not to agree to terms and instead accept a renewal constitutes more of a silent protest against a system shaped to reward service time as strongly as performance, though it ultimately has little effect on his standing heading into 2017.

"When you just stand for something, you kind of stand for it," said Betts. "I think that's kind of my view on it. Like I said, we didn't agree on that but I love everybody here and that's never going to change, and I'm going to play the same way I play any other time."

Mets starter Jacob deGrom, Pirates starter Gerrit Cole and Angels star Mike Trout -- who bested runner-up Betts for the AL MVP Award -- have all taken a similar stance in the not-too-distant past.

"No, it's just something me and my guys decided to do, and I'm not Mike Trout or those other guys so I can't really worry about what they did," said Betts. "I can only worry about myself. Like I said, there's nothing going on. I love everybody the same. Every time I see everybody, I say, 'Hey,' and we talk. Nothing changes."

Next offseason, Betts will be arbitration-eligible for the first time.

"I think right now we're just going to worry about bringing home a World Series this year, and we just go from there," Betts said.

The Red Sox also announced the signing of 18 other pre-arbitration-eligible players to one-year contracts, meaning the club now has all players on its Major League roster under contract for 2017.

The full list of players to sign contracts: pitchers Matt Barnes, Roenis Elias, Heath Hembree, Brian Johnson, Kyle Martin, Henry Owens, Noe Ramirez, Eduardo Rodriguez, Robby Scott, Carson Smith, Steven Wright and Luis Ysla; catchers Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez; infielders Marco Hernandez and Deven Marrero; and outfielders Andrew Benintendi and Bryce Brentz.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Mookie Betts