MLB

MLB Arbitration Day: Walker Buehler, Jack Flaherty, Cedric Mullins Make New Deals Through 2023

MLB Arbitration Day: Walker Buehler, Jack Flaherty, Cedric Mullins Make New Deals Through 2023

Friday marks the arbitration deadline in Major League Baseball, which means it’s the last day for teams and their arbitration-eligible players to trade salary figures for the upcoming season.

As a reminder, players with between three and six years of service in the big leagues* have their salaries determined or at least informed by salary arbitration. Arbitration salaries typically come out of negotiations between the team and the arbitration-eligible player, but if an agreement cannot be reached, each side submits its salary figure to an arbitration panel. The panel then chooses one figure or the other; there is no averaging of the two figures sent or otherwise taking a salary out of the core for the player. This dynamic encourages serious negotiation and explains why you don’t see truly absurd figure swaps per player or team (if either side submits an absurd salary figure, the panel would quickly pick the opposite figure).

As for this asterisk above, a small group of players known as the “super two” are eligible for an additional year of salary arbitration after only two years of MLB

service In general, however, players see big salary growth in years three, four and five of their careers heading into free agency after six years of service. That’s thanks to arbitration. As a prime example, Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani in October avoided the process by agreeing to a one-year, $30 million deal for his upcoming walk year. Not surprisingly, that’s a record salary for an arb-eligible player.

Most arb-eligible players will agree to next season’s salaries before the deadline, and others will agree to terms before an arbitration hearing is set. A smaller number will not reach an agreement with their teams and will indeed participate in a hearing, but these hearings can become contentious and uncomfortable; in essence, it asks teams to reduce the hits of the player in question, and usually both sides. prefer to avoid this final step. This “typically” qualifier is important, as some clubs take a “file and judge” approach, in which they refuse to negotiate further if the deadline day does not yield a deal. It’s also worth noting that for some notable arb-eligible players, long-term extensions may come from these talks. That is, negotiations with arb-eligible players do not to own

to sign a one-year contract. Sometimes they can even lead to nine-figure deals that “buy out” players’ remaining years and one or more free agent seasons.

Below we’ll track the notable signings on deadline day, led by one that fell well before Friday’s deadline.

team logo The Red Sox earlier this month stopped a trend of hemorrhaging homegrown starssigning third baseman Rafael Devers to an 11-year, $331 million extension

. Devers had been eligible for third-year arbitration and was slated for free agency after the 2023 season. Instead, he will be in a Boston uniform for the next few years.

Devers, 26, hit .295/.358/.521 (141 OPS+) with 42 doubles, 27 homers and a 4.4 WAR last season and made his second consecutive All-Star team. He’s already racked up nearly 3,000 plate appearances in 689 regular season games since debuting at just 20 years old and slashed .283/.342/.512 (124 OPS+) over that span. He led the AL with 54 doubles in 2019 and has two seasons of 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI to his credit.

team logo The Cardinals and right-hander Jack Flaherty have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $5.4 million contract through 2023.Derrick Goold reports

. Flaherty, 27, battled injuries again last season, but his rising ace — he finished fourth in 2019 NL Cy Young voting — means he remains a figure important in the rotation of St. He remains slated for free agency after next season.

team logo In his first year of arbitration eligibility, outfielder Cedric Mullins will receive a salary of $4.1 million through 2023,Jon Heyman reports

. Mullins, 28, was an All-Star in 2021 and is coming off a 2022 season in which he hit 16 home runs and stole 34 bases as Baltimore’s leading center fielder.

team logo The Dodgers will pay ace Walker Buehler an $8.025 million salary through 2023,Mark Feinsand reports

. Buehler was limited last season by an arm injury that ultimately resulted in Tommy John surgery. It may not launch at all in 2023.



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