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James Outman, Bobby Miller earn bonuses from pre-arbitration pool

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

A pair of Dodgers rookies earned an extra bump in pay for their 2023 performances. James Outman and Bobby Miller were two of the 101 major league players as part of the pre-arbitration bonus pool.

The Associated Press has the full list of payouts.

Outman will get $580,948 from the pool, which is 80.4 percent of his $722,500 salary for the season. Miller gets $406,035 out of the bonus pool, after earning $510,968 in the majors this season, the pro-rated share of the $720,000 minimum salary after making his major league debut in May.

Major league teams each contribute $1,666,667 each year into the bonus pool, which was introduced beginning in 2022 with the collective bargaining agreement. Any player who began the season with under three years of service who also were not Super Two players qualifies for the bonus pool, except players were signed as foreign professionals.

The first chunk allocated out of the bonus pool is based on awards:

  • $2.5 million for winning MVP or Cy Young
  • $1.75 million for finishing second in MVP or Cy Young
  • $1.5 million for finishing third in MVP or Cy Young
  • $1 million for fourth or fifth in MVP or Cy Young, or being named to All-MLB first team
  • $750,000 for winning Rookie of the Year
  • $500,000 for finishing second in Rookie of the Year of named to All-MLB second team

If any player qualifies for multiple such honors from this list, they are only paid the highest amount. Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll not only won National League Rookie of the Year, but also finished fifth in NL MVP voting and was a first-team All-MLB selection. That’s a $1 million bonus, as part of his total $1,812,337 payout, again per the AP.

Mariners outfielder Julio Rodríguez got the highest pre-arb bonus of $1,865,349, which included $1 million for finishing fourth in American League MVP voting.

Other award bonuses included $1 million each for Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman (All-MLB first team, Braves pitcher Spencer Strider (fourth in NL Cy Young vote or first-team All-MLB), Cubs pitcher Justin Steele (fifth in NL Cy Young), Orioles pitcher Kyle Braddish (fourth in AL Cy Young, superseding his All-MLB second-team selection), and Orioles closer Félix Bautista (first-team All-MLB); $750,000 for Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson (winning AL Rookie of the Year); and $500,00 for each of Rangers catcher Jonah Heim (second-team All-MLB) and Guardians pitcher Tinner Bibee (second in AL Rookie of the Year).

Mets right-hander Kodai Senga, a 30-year-old rookie who signed with New York for five years and $75 million after pitching 11 years in Japan, finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting. But as someone with previous foreign professional experience, he did not qualify for what would have been a $500,000 bonus.

After those $8.75 million in award bonuses, that leaves $41.25 million to be split among any eligible pre-arbitration player who finished within the top 100 in Wins Above Replacement among eligible players. The collective bargaining agreement describes a “Joint WAR” but does not provide much detail as to its calculation, other than noting a joint committee can meet to change how it’s calculated prior to each season in question.

Outman finished with 4.4 FanGraphs WAR and 3.3 Baseball Reference WAR, an average WAR of 3.85. His payout from the pool was $580,948, the 18th-highest amount of the group of pre-arb players.

Braves outfielder Michael Harris II was next in line at $576,627. His average of fWAR and bWAR was 3.7.

Reds outfielder TJ Friedl was next at $576,075, while his average of fWAR and bWAR was 4.1, suggesting the “Joint WAR” used by MLB is something other than simply averaging FanGraphs and Baseball Reference.

Outman and Miller were the only two Dodgers to be paid out of the pre-arb bonus pool this year. In 2022, the first year of that bonus pool’s existence, Will Smith ($973,374), Tony Gonsolin ($529,938) Evan Phillips ($359,740), Gavin Lux ($312,331), and Trayce Thompson ($283,904) all received bonuses.

Any bonuses paid out of the bonus pool do not count against the payroll for competitive balance purposes. But the $1.67 million each team pays into the pool annually does count against the CBT payroll.