Friday’s deadline to exchange arbitration figures came and went yesterday morning with three Dodgers coming to terms on one-year deals to avoid hearings while two others landed a combined $1.35 million apart from the team.
Let’s start with those two, because they are nearly as ridiculous as last year’s four, at the time, failed negotiations.
First off, Walker Buehler and the Dodgers are $850,000 apart in negotiations and did not come to an agreement before Friday’s deadline.
Back in November when Dustin broke down the original seven arbitration eligible players, Buehler was looking at somewhere between $2.3 million and $3.1 million according to Matt Schwartz of MLBTR and his projections.
Eric Stephen at True Blue LA came up with an even higher projection of $3.5 million, which I personally felt made plenty of sense, and that too fell short of what Buehler is looking for in his first arbitration year.
The easy answer is just come to an agreement when you’re that close, but I can’t say I am too surprised that didn’t get finalized based on the numbers and projections based on past cases. Whatever he makes this season, it’ll jump pretty quickly in the coming years. And looking back to Dustin’s argument for extending Buehler through 2025, he landed on almost exactly on the number Buehler is looking for right now.
Joining Buehler in waiting for a hearing or a multi-year deal is Austin Barnes.
Projections landed Barnes getting somewhere between $1.3 and $1.7 million, which is exactly what the Dodgers offered on their end.
Of course, now we’re down to a $500,000 difference as Barnes is looking for a $900,000 raise from last year’s $1.1 million agreement ahead of the arbitration deadline. That enters the Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and Pedro Baez range of extremely small differences from last season, when the three came in $675,000/$550,000/$500,000 apart.
Muncy and Taylor eventually signed multi-year deals, both essentially getting what they were looking for in arbitration while the Dodgers avoided going through all of this with the two again this year. Baez, now making $12.5 million over the next two years as a member of the Houston Astros, eventually won his hearing and made $4 million last year.
The Dodgers are now at six players, with Joc Pederson being the other last year, failing to come to an agreement in the past two years. Of the 13 players currently headed toward hearings this offseason, two are the Dodgers mentioned above.
As for the three that came to an agreement on Friday, it technically started with a fourth on Thursday when World Series Hero Dylan Floro came to an agreement at $975,000. He was expected to get $900K to $1.2 million, so he landed right in that range. As I mentioned on Twitter, the Dodgers should have happily paid him $975K for his Game 6 strikeout of Randy Arozarena alone.
And I’m well aware of how arbitration works, but Scott Alexander landing $1 million guaranteed compared to Floro’s settlement does make me laugh.
The other three all came in with much more significant agreements as Julio Urias landed at $3.6 million, World Series Hero Corey Seager ended up with $13.75 and Cody Bellinger came away with the largest number at $16.1 million. Those are raises of $2.6 million, $6.15 million and $4.6 million for the three respectively.
Bellinger had landed a record $11.5 million in his first year of arbitration last year and was looking at $15.9 million on the high-end of MLBTR’s projections. I tried and failed to track down what the record was for a second-year arbitration number, but Bellinger’s total trailed only Francisco Lindor ($22.3 million) and Kris Bryant (19.5 million) on this year’s settlements.
Fourth on this year’s settlement list was Seager, whose World Series MVP season obviously boosted his case this year, with Schwartz putting his high-end projection at $15 million for this year’s case.
Urias made just $1 million last season, with his raise also beating out his highest projection of $3 million from MLBTR.
All of those deals, and pending numbers, push the Dodgers closer to the tax line of $210 million. Estimating a midway point for Buehler and Barnes, it seems as though the Dodgers are around $205 million.