Mookie Betts went gold for the fourth consecutive year on Sunday.
In taking home the fourth Gold Glove of his career, the Red Sox superstar beat out the Los Angeles Angels’ Kole Calhoun and Houston Astros’ Josh Reddick as the American League right-field honoree.
The Gold Glove Award honors the best defenders at each position in each league.
Betts led American League outfielders with 15 defensive runs saved.
His 12.6 Ultimate Zone Rating was second in the AL. Betts came up as a second baseman but has turned into the best right fielder in the majors based on his body of work and accolades. Since 2015, he’s led all right fielders with 99 defensive runs saved. Commanding that position at Fenway isn’t easy either as Betts is tasked with the responsibility of covering the vast ground behind him. Betts is entering his final season of arbitration eligibility and is projected to pull in more than $25 million in 2020.
Betts joins Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado and Arizona pitcher Zack Greinke as the only major leaguers to win a Gold Glove Award in each of the last four years. He is the fifth Red Sox player with at least four career awards, joining second baseman Dustin Pedroia (4) and outfielders Dwight Evans (8), Carl Yastrzemski (7), and Fred Lynn (4).
As ownership looks to cut payroll, team president Sam Kennedy said it would be tough to keep both J.D. Martinez and Betts, but the team understands each of their values.
Martinez has until midnight Monday to decide if he’ll opt into his $23.75 million deal for the 2020 season. Martinez, 32, has another opt-out at the end of next season. His contract calls for him to receive $19.375 million in both 2021 and 2022. New chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said he looks forward to having discussions with both Betts and Martinez
“Obviously I come in with some information, having competed against this team for a long time,” Bloom said. “There’s a lot I don’t know. I’m eager to get together with our group. I would say generally that our top priority is going to be sustainability and competitiveness over the long-term.”
Boston’s other AL Gold Glove finalists (center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., left fielder Andrew Benintendi, and catcher Christian Vazquez) lost out to their competition.
Tampa Bay center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon, and Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez took home those honors.
Gordon, who won his seventh Gold Glove Award, is now a free agent after the Royals declined their half of a $23 million mutual option for 2020, allowing the 35-year-old outfielder to become a free agent. Gordon had exercised his part of the option but was allowed to go free Saturday. He will receive a $4 million buyout, completing a $72 million, four-year contract he agreed to in January 2016. Gordon, a three-time All-Star, batted .266 this year with 13 homers and 76 RBIs.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who became a a three-time winner, had his $16.5 million option for next season exercised by the team. Rizzo agreed in 2013 to a $41 million, seven-year contract that included two club options.
Chicago’s option for 2021 also is for $16.5 million with a $2 million buyout. If that is exercised, the deal would be worth $72 million over nine seasons.
Rizzo hit .293 with 27 homers and 94 RBIs this year, ending a streak of four 100-RBI seasons. He finished among the top four in NL MVP voting in 2015 and 2016.
Other AL winners were Mariners pitcher Mike Leake, Athletics first baseman Matt Olson, White Sox second baseman Yolmer Sanchez, Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman, and Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor.
Other National League honorees were Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto, Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed, Diamondbacks left fielder David Peralta, Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain, and Dodgers right fielder Cody Bellinger.