The Dodgers have avoided arbitration with RHP Walker Buehler, signing him to a two-year, $8M contract, a source tells @TheAthletic. The deal includes a $2M signing bonus, $2.75M salary in 2021 and $3.25M salary in ‘22.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 11, 2021
The Dodgers and Walker Buehler have avoided arbitration with a two-year deal worth a guaranteed $8 million, per source. The deal includes a $2 million signing bonus. He’ll earn $2.75 million in 2021 and $3.25 million in 2022.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) February 11, 2021
Buehler’s $2 million signing bonus is split into two payments, per the Associated Press: $1 million due on March 1, and $1 million due on January 15, 2022. Had the two sides not agreed to a contract, Buehler and the Dodgers would have had their arbitration hearing on Thursday.
With two years, 168 days of major league service time, Buehler was eligible for salary arbitration as a Super Two, among the top 22 percent of players with at least two years but not yet three years of service time. That gives Buehler four years of arbitration eligibility instead of the usual three, and this contract covers the first two of those years.
On the January 15 exchange date, Buehler filed at $4.15 million with the Dodgers filing at $3.3 million. His 2021 salary of $2.75 million plus half the signing bonus is $3.75 million, slightly over the midpoint of $3.725 million.
There are also bonuses built into the contract, per Ken Rosenthal:
Buehler’s deal also includes escalators. His base salary in 2022 will increase by $500K at each of the following thresholds - 14 games started, 16, 18, 20, 24, 28. It also would increase by $1.125M if he wins the Cy Young Award or $625K if he finishes second or third. https://t.co/fALJVJuVjv— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 11, 2021
Buehler in 2020 had a 2.77 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 23 walks in 61⅔ innings in both the regular season and postseason combined, with the Dodgers winning 11 of his 13 starts.
This is the third multi-year contract agreed to with a player after exchanging arbitration figures in the last two offseasons. Last year, the Dodgers signed Max Muncy to a three-year contract and Chris Taylor to a two-year deal, buying out the remaining arbitration seasons for both players.
The Dodgers still have one remaining salary arbitration case remaining this month, with catcher Austin Barnes.