Today is arbitration-salary exchange day, an important day in the offseason for CBT Championship contenders. Dustin previewed this day back in October when the Dodgers had 12 arbitration-eligible players. Since then Yimi Garcia was non-tendered and the Dodgers agreed to terms with Scott Alexander and Austin Barnes, so nine players had the chance to come to an agreement with the Dodgers today to avoid an arbitration hearing, which is something the Dodgers haven’t had since 2007.
The morning started with the Dodgers agreeing to terms with two pitchers, Julio Urias and Ross Stripling. Urias and the Dodgers agreed on a $1 million salary for his first year of arbitration, and Stripling got $2.1 million for his first year as well. Enrique Hernandez then received $5.9 million in his final year of arbitration and is headed into his final year of team control.
Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager were the next players to be announced. Seager and the Dodgers agreed on a deal with $7.6 million for his second year of arbitration. In his first year, Bellinger set the record for the highest contract for a first-year arbitration-eligible player at $11.5 million. This broke the previous record held by Cubs 3B Kris Bryant, who received $10.85 million in his first year of arbitration (2018).
Things were progressing as expected until Jeff Passan dropped a Passanbomb.
He followed it up with a clarification that today is not a hard deadline, and any of these players could still come to an agreement before having to partake in an arbitration hearing. However, this is still bordering on uncharted territory for this front office, who has done an excellent job since taking over of coming to arbitration agreements.
Joc Pederson and the Dodgers indeed failed to come to an agreement today and could be heading to an arbitration hearing in February.
The difference between Joc and the Dodgers is somewhat substantial, and this will surely go over well with a fanbase already thrilled about an uneventful offseason.
Sports are dumb, and it’s laughable that $675,000 is seen as a small sum of money in this context, but it is and it’s absurd that the Dodgers won’t pay that to keep things smooth with Max Muncy.
Like a laughably small sum.
If it’s any consolation, that isn’t the smallest difference between team and player this year.
It’s puzzling that after an offseason of claiming they’d be spenders, they’ve failed to reach agreements with four players.
That said, it’s important to remember that there’s still time for an agreement to be reached and for them to avoid an arbitration hearing, but this has not been the day that most of us expected.
Of the players the Dodgers did come to agreements with, only Seager and Hernandez got more than MLB Trade Rumors predicted. For what it’s worth, MLBTR predicted $8.5 million for Pederson, $3.3 million for Baez, $5 million for Taylor and $4.6 million for Muncy.
In news potentially relevant to some potential Dodger trade targets, Mookie Betts, Francisco Lindor, Mike Clevinger and the aforementioned Bryant all came to agreements today as well. Betts will get $27 million, Lindor $17.5 million, Clevinger $4.1 million and Bryant $18.6 million.
In non-arbitration news, Jedd Gyorko signed a contract today with the Milwaukee Brewers. I’d be lying if I said I remembered before today that Gyorko was a Dodger in 2019, but he was acquired at the deadline for Jeffry Abreu and Tony Cingrani. Gyorko slashed .139/.205/.167 in 39 Dodger plate appearances after returning from wrist surgery (among other injuries). The Dodgers declined Gyorko’s option, and now he’s a Brewer.