MLB Trade Rumors released its 2022 arbitration projections right in the middle of the postseason — as it always does. I touched on it briefly in my 40-man roster reset post, but the arbitration-eligible Dodgers didn’t get a dedicated post … until now.
Here are the five Dodger players who are eligible for arbitration this winter.
- SS/2B Trea Turner (Arb 3) – $19.8 million
- OF/1B Cody Bellinger (Arb 3) – $16 million
- LHP Julio Urias (Arb 3) – $8.8 million
- LHP Scott Alexander (Arb 3) – $1.3 million
- LHP Caleb Ferguson (Arb 1) – $700,000
That’s $46.6 million among the five players. MLBTR’s projections are usually comfortably in the neighborhood, so it’ll probably end up being around this number, provided all are tendered deals.
Everyone except Alexander is a lock to be tendered. The Dodgers gave up a couple premium prospects to land Turner (and Max Scherzer) and if they really think he’s their future at shortstop, they might try to lock him up to a long-term deal. He fits the MO of what the front office likes in a player (see Mookie Betts) and despite the rumor that he doesn’t want to play on the West Coast, I’m sure a mega contract could remedy that quickly.
Bellinger’s number is a raise over last year’s projected $15.9 million (remember, there were different projections due to COVID-19), which may seem like a surprise considering how much he struggled. It is, however, $100,000 less than his actual $16.1 million salary. A player can only earn a maximum of 20 percent less than the previous year through the arbitration process. Factor in he was the 2019 NL MVP and looked resurgent in the postseason and any talk of him being non-tendered should be laughed at heartily. He has one more year of arbitration, as he was a Super Two player.
Urias is set to get a healthy raise this winter. He, like Bellinger, is also three-quarters of the way through the arbitration process and considering he had a breakout season, $8.8 million seems like a bargain.
Ferguson is recovering from Tommy John surgery, so he should be back at some point in 2022. This is his first trip through the process and, provided there haven’t been any catastrophic setbacks, will be tendered a deal.
Alexander is the only question mark for me. Yes, $1.3 million isn’t a lot for the Dodgers (or any team) to sweat, but the emergence of Alex Vesia, Justin Bruihl and Garrett Cleavinger being in tow and the aforementioned Ferguson due back, and you can see a scenario in which the Dodgers don’t offer him a deal. His 40-man roster spot might be more valuable than the $1.3 million projected salary. He has thrown fewer than 20 MLB innings in each of the past three seasons, and he hasn’t been good. They’d probably be better off rolling the dice on the lefties mentioned above, as well as helping Victor Gonzalez rebound from a poor 2021 season.
Long-term deals for Turner, Bellinger and Urias would be nice. It’s a little more likely with Turner because his agent isn’t Scott Boras. Bellinger and Urias are Boras clients, so I’d expect them to play through the season and enter next winter with their sights set on unrestricted free agency in winter 2023. If either of them are signed to an extension, I’d say 12-15 months from now is more likely than anything.
Let me button this up by saying this is all dependent on the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current agreement expires in December. Things could change rather drastically and the odds of a lockout/work stoppage are more likely than not. We’ll see what happens, but that’s the big cloud hanging over the entire sport’s offseason.