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Caleb Ferguson 2024 salary arbitration preview

Dodgers vs Giants in Los Angeles, CA.

Time has seemingly flown by, because it doesn’t necessarily feel like Caleb Ferguson has been around that long, yet the Dodgers left-hander will be eligible for free agency at the end of the 2024 season. But he’s got one more year of salary arbitration first.

Ferguson has five years, 93 days of major league service time, and has gone through the arbitration process two times previously. The left-hander reached agreements with the Dodgers in both cases.

The timing for Ferguson’s first foray into arbitration wasn’t good, as he missed the entire 2021 season after Tommy John surgery. With just 112⅓ innings under his belt at that point, and having not pitched since 2020, Ferguson in 2022 signed for $762,500, not all that much more than the major league minimum salary of $700,000. In 2023, Ferguson signed for $1.1 million, a 44-percent raise.

Ferguson proved durable last season, tying Brusdar Graterol for the team lead with 68 games pitched. Ferguson also set career highs with 60⅓ innings, 70 strikeouts, and three saves. He was second on the Dodgers with an average leverage index of 1.510, trailing only closer Evan Phillips (1.585). The team trusted Ferguson in important situations, and even though it was a wild ride he put up solid numbers, with 3.43 ERA, 3.79 xERA, and 3.34 FIP.

Last year proved fruitful in finding comparable pitchers to Ferguson, all with at least five years of service time.

Comparable pitchers to Caleb Ferguson, single year

Pitchers Arb year Service IP Saves BB rate K rate ERA xERA FIP bWAR fWAR Prev. Salary Salary Increase
Pitchers Arb year Service IP Saves BB rate K rate ERA xERA FIP bWAR fWAR Prev. Salary Salary Increase
Caleb Ferguson 2024 5.093 60⅓ 3 8.5% 25.9% 3.43 3.79 3.34 0.1 1.3 $1,100,000 TBD TBD
Dylan Floro 2023 5.053 53⅔ 10 6.8% 21.8% 3.02 3.03 3.13 0.8 0.7 $3,000,000 $3,900,000 30.0%
Ryne Stanek 2023 5.038 54⅔ 1 13.8% 27.7% 1.15 3.19 3.02 2.2 0.9 $2,100,000 $3,600,000 71.4%
Wandy Peralta 2023 5.168 56⅓ 4 7.6% 21.1% 2.72 2.66 2.86 1.1 0.9 $2,150,000 $3,350,000 55.8%
Joe Jiménez 2023 5.061 56⅔ 2 5.6% 33.3% 3.49 2.90 2.00 0.4 1.4 $1,790,000 $2,765,000 54.5%
Amir Garrett 2023 5.099 45⅓ 0 16.3% 25.0% 4.96 3.62 3.40 0.0 0.6 $2,025,000 $2,650,000 30.9%
Phil Maton 2023 5.047 65⅔ 0 8.5% 26.0% 3.84 4.28 4.33 -0.3 -0.1 $1,550,000 $2,550,000 64.5%
John Brebbia 2023 5.078 68 0 6.3% 18.8% 3.18 3.49 3.32 1.6 0.9 $837,500 $2,300,000 174.6%
José Cisnero 2023 5.020 59⅓ 0 18.1% 21.9% 5.31 3.89 3.67 0.9 0.1 $1,900,000 $2,287,500 20.4%
Carl Edwards Jr. 2023 5.169 62 2 9.8% 21.9% 2.76 3.31 4.24 1.3 0.1 minors deal $2,250,000 n/a
Ryan Brasier 2023 5.109 62⅓ 1 4.9% 24.3% 5.78 3.97 3.61 -0.8 0.5 $1,400,000 $2,000,000 42.9%
Jordan Hicks 2023 5.000 61⅓ 0 13.3% 24.0% 4.84 3.91 4.17 -0.4 0.3 $938,000 $1,837,500 95.9%
Robert Stephenson 2023 5.049 58 0 5.7% 22.3% 5.43 4.78 4.23 -0.2 0.2 $1,280,000 $1,750,000 36.7%
Sources include MLB Trade Rumors & Cot’s Baseball Contracts

Going by the launch year, the season immediately preceding this arbitration, Ferguson compares favorably to Phil Maton, who earned $2.55 million in 2023, and Amir Garrett, who made $2.65 million. Joe Jiménez had better peripheral numbers in 2022 than Ferguson in 2023. But these pitchers were all coming off higher salaries in the season before than the $1.1 million Ferguson made in 2023.

Putting aside John Brebbia as the outlier, as he more than doubled his salary from four years of service time to five, the highest percentage increase year over year was Jordan Hicks at 95.9 percent. The same increase for Ferguson would put him at $2.15 million for 2024.

But let’s look at career numbers for all these pitchers before this arb season, and see if the outlook for Ferguson becomes clearer.

Comparable pitchers to Caleb Ferguson, career numbers

Pitchers Arb year Service IP Saves BB rate K rate ERA ERA+ FIP bWAR fWAR Prev. Salary Salary Increase
Pitchers Arb year Service IP Saves BB rate K rate ERA ERA+ FIP bWAR fWAR Prev. Salary Salary Increase
Caleb Ferguson 2024 5.093 207⅓ 5 9.2% 27.7% 3.43 121 3.78 1.2 2.1 $1,100,000 TBD TBD
Dylan Floro 2023 5.053 277⅓ 25 7.5% 21.2% 3.15 133 3.11 4.3 4.7 $3,000,000 $3,900,000 30.0%
Ryne Stanek 2023 5.038 296⅓ 4 12.4% 28.5% 3.34 126 4.06 4.0 2.7 $2,100,000 $3,600,000 71.4%
Wadny Peralta 2023 5.168 291⅔ 9 10.1% 19.1% 4.07 106 4.40 2.0 0.8 $2,150,000 $3,350,000 55.8%
Joe Jiménez 2023 5.061 266 20 9.3% 28.6% 5.24 84 4.03 -0.9 2.2 $1,790,000 $2,765,000 54.5%
Amir Garrett 2023 5.099 301 8 12.8% 26.5% 5.08 88 4.87 0.5 0.6 $2,025,000 $2,650,000 30.9%
Phil Maton 2023 5.047 281 1 9.0% 26.3% 4.55 91 4.00 -1.1 1.3 $1,550,000 $2,550,000 64.5%
John Brebbia 2023 5.078 261⅓ 2 6.9% 25.0% 3.34 122 3.46 3.8 2.8 $837,500 $2,300,000 174.6%
José Cisnero 2023 5.020 200 4 12.0% 23.4% 3.60 120 3.96 2.1 1.6 $1,900,000 $2,287,500 20.4%
Carl Edwards Jr. 2023 5.169 248⅓ 5 12.6% 29.7% 3.52 121 3.69 3.7 2.7 minors deal $2,250,000 n/a
Ryan Brasier 2023 5.109 197⅔ 8 7.3% 24.3% 4.14 110 3.75 1.6 1.9 $1,400,000 $2,000,000 42.9%
Jordan Hicks 2023 5.000 177⅔ 20 13.4% 23.0% 4.05 98 3.83 0.8 1.3 $938,000 $1,837,500 95.9%
Robert Stephenson 2023 5.049 312 2 10.5% 24.1% 4.90 93 4.82 0.1 1.3 $1,280,000 $1,750,000 36.7%
Sources include MLB Trade Rumors & Cot’s Baseball Contracts

By career stats, Ferguson still compares quite well with Jiménez, Garrett, and Maton, but all three pitched at least a season’s worth of innings more than Ferguson at this point in their careers.

The group of Brebbia, José Cisnero, and Carl Edwards Jr. feels to me like where Ferguson fits best. They all have similar ERA, ERA+, and FIP. Cisnero might be the best fit with 200 innings and four career saves compared to 207⅓ innings and five saves for Ferguson. Cisnero made $2.287,500 last year for the Tigers.

MLB Trade Rumors projects Ferguson to make $2.3 million in 2024, while Cot’s Baseball Contracts has him at $2.25 million.

I’ll guess $2.35 million for Ferguson, slightly more than Cisnero.