The Dodgers so far have signed nine of ten arbitration-eligible players, before Friday’s deadline to exchange salary figures.
The only unreported signing to date is starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin, who is arbitration eligible for the first time as a Super Two player.
Julio Urías got the biggest deal of the day, and will earn $14.25 million in his final year before free agency. Walker Buehler signed for $8.025 million, catcher Will Smith signed for $5.25 million. Those deals were written up separately, but here’s a little more information on the other six players who avoided arbitration on Friday.
Dustin May got $1.675 million in his first time through the arbitration process, per the trio of Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times, Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic, and J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group.
May returned from Tommy John surgery to make six starts at the end of the 2022 season, putting up a 4.50 ERA in his 30 innings, with 29 strikeouts and 14 walks.
I guessed a salary of $1.3 million for May in 2023, on the low side compared to a few other projections. Jeff Euston at Cot’s Contracts tabbed May to earn $1.8 million this season, while MLB Trade Rumors predicted $1.4 million for the right-hander.
Outfielder Trayce Thompson returned to the Dodgers in June after five years away, signed in June after tearing up Triple-A in both the Padres and Tigers systems. Thompson hit .268/.364/.537 with 13 home runs and a 142 wRC+ in 80 games with Los Angeles, earning regular outfield playing time, starting double-digit games in left field, center field, and right field.
In 2022, Thompson was a feast-or-famine hitter, with extremes on both ends. His 36.5-percent strikeout rate (including his brief, six-game stint in the majors with the Padres before landing back in Los Angeles) was sixth-highest in the majors among players with at least 250 plate appearances. But when Thompson’s bat did connect with the ball, great things happened. He led Dodgers hitters in average exit velocity (92.2 mph) and barrel rate (8.2 percent), and his 46.9-percent hard-hit rate ranked third on the team, trailing only Joey Gallo and Freddie Freeman.
Heading into his age-32 season, Thompson was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time, with three years, 10 days of major league service time. He’ll will make $1.45 million in 2023, per Jon Heyman of the New York Post and Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times.
Finding comparable players to Thompson was difficult given his vagabond journey in recent years. He’s played for eight organizations over the last eight seasons, and over the last six years has nearly triple the plate appearances in Triple-A (1,464) than in the majors (482).
My guess for Thompson’s 2023 salary was $1.6 million, slightly below the MLB Trade Rumors projection of $1.7 million for the outfielder. Jeff Euston at Cot’s Contracts was a little lower, projecting $1.4 million for Thompson.
Yency Almonte joined the Dodgers on a minor league contract in March, and joined the major league bullpen by mid-May. He posted a minuscule 1.02 ERA in 33 games, with 33 strikeouts and 10 walks in 35⅓ innings.
Almonte after joining the Dodgers added a two-seam fastball that he threw only 48 times in his four years with the Rockies. With Los Angeles, he threw his two-seamer 33.9 percent of the time. That played better with his slider, the pitch that had a 38.4-percent put-away rate and against which opposing batters hit just .119 with a .203 slugging percentage.
With three years, 143 days of major league service time, Almonte was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time. He would have been eligible as a Super Two last winter, but instead was sent outright to the minors in October 2021, prompting Almonte to elect free agency that November.
I correctly guessed a $1.5-million salary for Almonte in 2023, while MLB Trade Rumors projected $1 million for the right-hander this season. Jeff Euston at Cot’s Contracts predicted $1.6 million for Almonte.
Evan Phillips deployed his devastating slider to become the best pitcher in the Dodgers bullpen, having a career year in 2022. He’ll earn $1.3 million in 2023, per Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times and Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic.
The right-hander, who was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers from Tampa Bay on August 16, 2021, set a franchise record last season with a 1.14 ERA, the lowest-such mark by any Dodgers pitcher with at least 40 innings in a season. That included a hidden perfect game in August, retiring 29 consecutive batters over a span of 10 appearances.
Phillips before joining the Dodgers had a 7.26 ERA in 49 games and 57 innings with the Braves, Orioles, and Rays. Since joining Los Angeles, he a 1.47 ERA in 73⅓ innings over 71 appearances.
Phillips in his 63 innings over 64 posted a 1.94 FIP that ranked fourth in the majors and a 2.18 xERA that was seventh-best in baseball. The right-hander walked 15 and struck out 77, the latter second-most among Dodgers relievers, behind only Alex Vesia.
The now-28-year-old Phillips has two years, 136 days of major league service time, and was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time as a Super Two player. I guessed $1.6 million for Phillip’s salary in 2023, while MLB Trade Rumors projected $1.4 million.
Brusdar Graterol was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time. He was a Super Two player with two years, 167 days of major league service time.
Graterol set career highs in games pitched (46), innings (49⅔), and strikeouts (43) last season, settling into a regular role in the back end of the Dodgers bullpen, interrupted only by injured list stints for right shoulder inflammation and right elbow inflammation that sidelined him for a total of 55 games.
He posted a 3.26 ERA and was third on the Dodgers with four saves, and had career bests in xERA (2.47), FIP (2.95), and ground-ball rate (63.1 percent). Though his below-average 21.8-percent strikeout rate remains low, especially for a pitcher with a 100-mph two-seam fastball, Graterol was expert at limiting hard contact. In 2022, with his average exit velocity allowed (85.5 mph) and hard-hit rate against (25.5 percent) also career bests.
My guess for Graterol’s salary in 2023 was $1.35 million, while MLB Trade Rumors projected $1.2 million for the right-hander. Jeff Euston at Cot’s Contracts also predicted $1.2 million for Graterol.
Caleb Ferguson’s first year back since his Tommy John surgery in September 2020 was a successful one, posting a 1.82 ERA, 3.05 xERA, and 3.00 FIP in 37 games, with 37 strikeouts and 17 walks in 34⅔ innings. He allowed one home run to his 142 batters faced.
The left-handed reliever will make $1.1 million in 2023, per Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic.
With four years, 88 days of service time, this was Ferguson’s second time through the arbitration process, having earned $762,500 in 2021 while on rehab from surgery.
I guessed a $1.3-million salary for Ferguson in 2023, while MLB Trade Rumors was on the nose with a $1.1-million projection for the left-hander this season. Jeff Euston at Cot’s Contracts projected $1.5 million for Ferguson.