MLB Arbitration Day: Juan Soto Wins  Million Contract;  Josh Hader wins record referee contract for reliever

MLB Arbitration Day: Juan Soto Wins $23 Million Contract; Josh Hader wins record referee contract for reliever

MLB Arbitration Day: Juan Soto Wins  Million Contract;  Josh Hader wins record referee contract for reliever

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

As a reminder, the salaries of players with between three and six years of seniority in the league* see their salaries determined or at least informed by salary arbitration. Generally, arbitration salaries are the result of negotiations between the team and the player eligible for arbitration, but if an agreement cannot be reached, each party submits their salary to an arbitration panel. The panel then chooses one number or the other – there is no average of the two numbers submitted or drawing a salary out of thin air for the player. This dynamic encourages serious negotiation and explains why you don’t see really absurd number swaps per player or per team (if either side submitted an absurd salary figure, the panel would quickly choose the opposite number ).

As for that asterisk

above, a small group of players known as “super twos” are eligible for an additional year of salary arbitration after just two years of MLB service. Typically, however, players see strong salary growth in the third, fourth and fifth years of their career before entering free agency after six years of service. It is thanks to arbitration. As a stark example, two-way Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani in October dodged the process by agreeing to a one-year, $30 million pact for his next year on the march. Unsurprisingly, this is a record salary for an arb-eligible player.

Most players eligible for arbitration will agree salaries for the upcoming season before the deadline, and others will agree to terms before an arbitration hearing is scheduled. A smaller number will not come to an agreement with their teams and will actually participate in an audition, but these auditions can become contentious and awkward – they essentially ask teams to diminish the achievements of the player in question – and both parties generally prefer to avoid this last step. This ‘generally’ qualifier is important, as some clubs take a ‘case and trial’ approach, in which they refuse to negotiate further if the day of the deadline does not result in an agreement. It should also be noted that for some high-profile players eligible for arb, long-term extensions may arise from these talks. In other words, negotiations with arb-eligible players have

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

Below, we’ll track the big signings on the day of the deadline, preceded by the one that happened well before Friday’s finish line.

Devers and the Red Sox agree to a big extension

team logo The Red Sox earlier this month halted a trend of bleeding home stars bysigning third baseman Rafael Devers to an 11-year, $331 million extension

. Devers was eligible for arbitration for the third year and was expected to become a free agent after the 2023 season. Instead, he will wear a Boston uniform for years to come.

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

Soto and Padres reach 2023 deal

team logo The Padres and star slugger Juan Soto have agreed to a $23 million contract for 2023,ESPN reports

. Soto was last season’s trade deadline prize, and in 153 games combined for the Padres and Nationals, he had an MLB-leading 27 homers and 135 walks. For his career, the 24-year-old has a blistering OPS+ of 157. Soto is slated for free agency after the 2024 season, which means an additional year of referee eligibility. The big question remains whether the Padres will be able to sign him to a (probably record) long-term extension before he reaches free agency. What we do know is that no long-term deal came out of Friday’s deadline.

Flaherty and the Cardinals reach an agreement

team logo The Cardinals and right-hander Jack Flaherty avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $5.4 million contract for 2023,Derrick Goold reporting

. Flaherty, 27, struggled with injuries again last season, but his upside down ace – he finished fourth in NL Cy Young balloting in 2019 – means he remains an important figure in St. Louis. He remains slated for free agency after the upcoming season.

Orioles agree terms with Mullins

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

. 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 primary center back.

Dodgers, Buehler have a deal

team logo The Dodgers will pay ace Walker Buehler an $8.025 million salary for 2023,Reports by Mark Feinsand

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

Other notables

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