Max Muncy was set to go to an arbitration hearing with the Dodgers for one of the smallest differences in the franchise’s history. Instead, he will avoid arbitration for the rest of his career after signing a three-year, $26-million contract with a $13 million club option for a fourth year with a $1.5 million buyout.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic had the news of the extension first on Thursday morning, along with a few details.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times followed up with the news that Muncy gets a $4.5 million signing bonus on the deal. The rest of it breaks down with $1 million in 2020, $7.5 million in 2021 and $11.5 million in 2022. As Rosenthal said, the club option currently would pay Muncy $13 million for what could be his first year as a free agent, or the Dodgers can buy him out at $1.5 million.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman included a little more about how that option can rise based on Muncy’s placement in MVP voting during the previous seasons.
It will be interesting to see how the average annual value ($8.667 million) fits into the Dodgers’ apparent plans to fit below the tax line this year, but it really goes without saying that Muncy has earned this deal.
In his two seasons for the Dodgers, a total of 1,070 PAs, Muncy has produced 5.2 and 4.8 WAR seasons, respectively, at 162 wRC+ and 134 wRC+. With Cody Bellinger, Gavin Lux and Justin Turner looking likely to be locked into the outfield, second base, and third base, Muncy is probably going to see most of his time at first in 2020, where he rates as a quality defender.
Without getting too much deeper into the numbers right now, it’s a pretty team-friendly deal (especially with the option) even if Muncy’s production comes down from the 70 homers and .927 OPS he’s had over the past two years. If nothing else, it secures price certainty and avoids the messy arbitration process.
It is also a nice raise for a player who has made somewhere under $2 million total during his time in the majors, and hopefully Max continues his storybook rise.