The Dodgers on Tuesday avoided salary arbitration with Tony Gonsolin, signing the pitcher to a two-year contract worth $6.65 million that will take him through the 2024 season. The exact breakdown of the deal isn’t yet known.
Gonsolin was the only one of ten arbitration-eligible Dodgers not to reach agreement on a contract by the January 13 deadline to exchange salaries. Gonsolin submitted a salary of $3.4 million, in line with some recent comparable starting pitchers. The Dodgers filed at $3 million.
Given that the midpoint of the exchanged salaries for 2023 was $3.2 million, and that Gonsolin was going to earn at least $3 million anyway this year, $3.65 million is a pretty low salary for 2024.
Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic noted bonuses for Gonsolin based on games pitched and Cy Young Award finish. The Associated Press provided more detail for Gonsolin, whose 2024 salary can increase by up to $4.125 million based on his 2023 performance:
His salary in the second season can escalate by up to $3 million based on a points system in which he will be credited one point for each start, or each relief appearance of 3 1/3 innings: $500,000 apiece for 14, 16, 18, 20, 24 and 28 points. The 2024 salary also would increase by $1,125,000 for winning a Cy Young Award this year, $625,000 for finishing second or third in the voting and $500,000 for finishing fourth or fifth.
The bonus structure for Gonsolin is very similar to Walker Buehler’s two-year deal before the 2021 season, when Buehler was a Super Two like Gonsolin is now. Buehler had the same $3 million in bonuses at the same quantities, only his were based on starts. Buehler had the same Cy Young voting bonuses for finishing first, second, or third, but nothing for finishing fourth or fifth. Based on his 2021 season, Buehler earned all $3 million of his starts bonuses for 2022 but narrowly missed out on the award bonus by finishing fourth in National League Cy Young voting.
Gonsolin’s new contract takes him through two of four salary arbitration seasons.
With two years, 152 days of major league service time, Gonsolin was eligible for salary arbitration for the first time. He was a Super Two player, among the top 22 percent in service time of players with at least two but not three years under their belt.
Gonsolin entered arbitration on a high note, coming off of a career year that saw him make his first All-Star Game. The right-hander was 16-1 with a 2.14 ERA, 3.12 xERA, and 3.28 FIP in 24 starts for the Dodgers in 2022, with 119 strikeouts and 35 walks in 130⅓ innings.
The right-hander made $720,000 in salary last season, and earned over $500,000 as part of the pre-arbitration bonus pool that started with the new collective bargaining agreement in 2022.
Of the 70 arbitration-eligible players in the nine years of the Andrew Friedman-led Dodgers front office, only two players have gone to a hearing. The Dodgers split the two outcomes, both in 2020 beating Joc Pederson while losing to Pedro Báez.
Before those two 2020 hearings, the Dodgers’ last arbitration hearing was reliever Joe Beimel in 2007.
The Dodgers now have 22 players under contract for 2023, and an estimated total payroll of roughly $235.5 million for competitive balance tax purposes.