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Alex Vesia 2024 salary arbitration preview

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Vesia has been a major contributor to the Dodgers bullpen for the last three seasons, and is now eligible for salary arbitration for the first time.

He’s one of three Dodgers who are first-time eligible for arbitration, along with infielder Gavin Lux and reliever J.P. Feyereisen, both of whom missed the entire 2023 season after surgery. Vesia was available all season but also had the worst of his three years in Los Angeles, and even spent nearly six weeks in total in Triple-A.

Vesia had a 4.35 ERA in 56 games with the Dodgers last season, nearly double his ERA from 2021-22 combined (2.19). The peripherals were better, with a 3.66 FIP and 3.53 xERA, and Vesia had a career-best walk rate (7.8 percent) while striking out 29.5 percent of his batters faced, which led the team.

The left-hander also vastly improved down the stretch, with a 2.35 ERA over the season’s final four months, with 34 strikeouts against only five walks in his 33 appearances.

With three years, 78 days of major league service time, Vesia is going through the arbitration process for the first time. So let’s take a look at some recent relief pitchers with comparable numbers and service time to see what Vesia might earn in 2024.

Pitchers comparable to Alex Vesia at three years of service time

Pitcher Year Service time IP Saves BB rate K rate ERA ERA+ FIP bWAR fWAR Salary
Pitcher Year Service time IP Saves BB rate K rate ERA ERA+ FIP bWAR fWAR Salary
Alex Vesia 2024 3.078 148⅓ 3 11.1% 32.0% 3.40 125 3.57 1.6 2.0 TBD
Tyler Rogers 2023 3.034 202⅓ 16 5.4% 17.5% 2.94 140 3.23 4.4 2.9 $1,675,000
Rowan Wick 2023 3.114 146 20 10.2% 24.8% 3.82 112 3.49 0.6 1.8 $1,550,000
Tanner Rainey 2023 3.127 137⅓ 15 15.5% 31.2% 5.44 79 5.01 -0.3 -0.2 $1,500,000
Dillon Tate 2023 3.048 179 8 7.2% 19.4% 3.97 108 4.03 2.4 1.2 $1,500,000
Erik Swanson 2023 3.096 154⅔ 6 5.4% 26.3% 4.13 99 4.15 0.9 1.6 $1,250,000
Colin Poche 2023 3.109 110⅓ 9 9.1% 30.1% 4.32 93 4.33 -0.1 0.4 $1,175,000
Hoby Milner 2023 3.068 142 0 7.4% 22.4% 4.31 98 4.59 0.4 -0.1 $1,025,000
Josh Staumont 2023 3.072 148⅓ 8 12.8% 26.1% 3.82 118 4.03 1.5 1.3 $1,025,000
Dennis Santana 2023 3.095 139 1 11.8% 21.0% 5.12 83 4.15 -1.3 0.6 $1,000,000
Ryan Thompson 2023 3.000 103 4 6.5% 23.1% 3.50 112 3.55 0.5 1.2 $1,000,000
Génesis Cabrera 2023 3.011 157⅓ 3 12.1% 23.4% 3.95 102 4.32 -0.4 0.4 $950,000
Victor Arano 2023 3.022 116⅔ 4 7.1% 25.3% 3.32 124 3.39 1.6 1.4 $925,000
José Ruiz 2023 3.048 175 0 11.1% 23.0% 4.17 104 4.49 1.5 0.5 $925,000
JT Chargois 2023 3.101 152⅔ 0 9.1% 24.8% 3.54 115 3.87 2.2 0.7 $850,000
Cole Sulser 2023 3.028 127⅓ 15 11.0% 26.0% 3.75 118 3.69 1.9 1.6 $825,000
Sources include MLB Trade Rumors & Cot’s Baseball Contracts

Vesia has better numbers than Tanner Rainey and similar numbers to Rowan Wick at the three-year mark of service time. But Rainey had 20 saves and Wick 16, bumping them above Vesia, who has saved three games so far in his career. So $1.5 million might seem like too high for Vesia. Even if his numbers are a bit better than Dillon Tate — another $1.5 million reliever — Vesia has 30⅔ fewer innings (17.1 percent) than Tate at this point in their careers.

Also notable among that group of comparable pitchers was Ryan Thompson, who actually went to an arbitration hearing last year, filing at $1.2 million while the Rays filed at $1 million. The team won the hearing, and Thompson offered a detailed tweet thread explaining the process, and his frustration with it. You might recall our Michael Elizondo wrote about Thompson last February.

A few tweets in the thread from Thompson:


This is somewhat of a semantic argument, but “Meltdowns is not an official MLB stat. I’ve never heard of it and maybe never will again” from Thompson doesn’t hold a ton of water when he was also relying on average leverage index, for instance.

For what it’s worth, Vesia had 10 holds in 2023, tied for third-most on the Dodgers. But he only had 12 such opportunities, and one of his non-holds was a save on July 6. Vesia’s average leverage index was 1.060, which is slightly above league average (which is set to 1.000). Vesia also led the Dodgers with 11 meltdowns, which are defined at FanGraphs as “when a reliever’s [Win Probability Added] is less than or equal to -0.06 in any individual game.”

Vesia has similar to slightly better numbers now than Thompson did last year, but with 44-percent more innings. So Vesia should for sure earn more than Thompson’s $1 million.

There’s a bit of a spread in projections for Vesia. Jeff Euston at Cot’s Baseball Contracts has the left-hander earning $1.5 million in 2024, while Anthony Franco and Steve Adams at MLB Trade Rumors says $1.2 million for Vesia.

I’ll guess $1.4 million for Vesia, in between those projections, and slightly below the Rainey/Wick/Tate group.

Vesia this week is in a situation similar to bullpen teammate Yency Almonte last season. Almonte agreed to terms on a $1.5 million contract to avoid arbitration on January 13, the salary exchange date. Almonte got the news while at the rehearsal dinner for his wedding which was the next day. “It was a good weekend,” Almonte said at last year’s Fan Fest at Dodger Stadium.

Vesia married his wife Kayla last Friday, and a deal could be coming within a week, with Friday’s exchange date usually spurring deals.