The Dodgers have an interesting group of arbitration-eligible players this winter, including a couple franchise cornerstones and couple veterans going into their last year of team control.
Matt Schwartz of MLB Trade Rumors released his predictions. While they’re not always 100 percent spot-on, he is the gold standard when it comes to these predictions. The Dodgers have 12 players eligible, and they are as follows:
- OF Joc Pederson (Arb 3) – $8.5 million
- IF/OF Enrique Hernandez (Arb 3) – $5.5 million
- RP Pedro Baez (Arb 3) – $3.3 million
- RP Yimi Garcia (Arb 3) – $1.1 million
- SS Corey Seager (Arb 2) – $7.1 million
- IF/OF Chris Taylor (Arb 2) – $5 million
- 1B/OF Cody Bellinger (Arb 1) – $11.6 million
- IF Max Muncy (Arb 1) – $4.6 million
- RHP Ross Stripling (Arb 1) – $2.3 million
- LHP Julio Urias (Arb 1) – $1.7 million
- C Austin Barnes (Arb 1) – $1.3 million
- LHP Scott Alexander (Arb 1) – $1 million
The arbitration projection total is $53 million. Not all the numbers will be 100 percent spot-on, but expect the Dodgers to spend a hefty amount via the arbitration process this winter.
Pederson is set to get a substantial raise after setting a career-high in home runs. Still, he’s a bargain at $8.5 million. It may seem a bit surprising, but yes, Hernandez is in his final year of team control. He’s coming off a disappointing season, so he’ll have a lot to prove next season ahead of free agency. Baez, who has seemingly been in the league for 10 years, is going into his final year of arbitration and could be in line for a nice following the season. Garcia is also in his final year and projected to make a minuscule $1.1 million.
Seager leads the pack of Arb2 players. He’s going to get a nice raise from the $4 million he made this season. Taylor, who had a higher Arb1 mark than I expected, is also going to get a solid raise.
As for the Arb1 guys, Bellinger’s projected $11.6 million would be a record for a first-timer. The record currently belongs to Kris Bryant, who got $10.85 million in his first year of arbitration following an MVP season in 2016 — much like what could happen with Bellinger. He’s only going to get more expensive, but don’t expect any extension talk anytime soon. He’s a Scott Boras client and Boras doesn’t usually let his clients sign pre-free agency extensions. An exception is Stephen Strasburg, who signed a 7-year, $175 million deal a year ahead of free agency. So, maybe the Dodgers can work something out with Bellinger/Boras in a couple more winters. For now, let’s just enjoy his awesomeness.
Muncy went from possibly being out of baseball to being a multi-millionaire in the span of two years. He has been quite the find for the Dodgers. Stripling might be the most under-appreciated Dodger, and he’s going to get a nice pay day his first time through. Urias will also get a nice bump. Barnes, despite his struggles, will be a very cheap, decent backup catcher. Alexander is coming off surgery to address a nerve issue in his left hand.
Of the 12, there are only two legitimate non-tender candidates: Alexander and Garcia. Garcia is out of minor-league options and the Dodgers probably won’t be able to fit him onto the 25-man roster come spring. Alexander is coming off a significant surgery, but he has MiLB options remaining and his left-handedness should keep him from being non-tendered. They could also be traded (as could any of the other 10), should the Dodgers go down that road.
The Dodgers probably won’t need to add as many non-roster players to the 40-man roster this winter as they did last winter, but I see at least three who could garner consideration, which could prompt the Dodgers to be a little more aggressive with either trades or non-tenders of the 12 players above. I’ll do a more in-depth post on that the closer we get to December’s Rule 5 Draft.