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Dodgers sign 10 players to avoid salary arbitration

Los Angeles Dodgers v Seattle Mariners Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Thursday evening was the deadline for players eligible for salary arbitration and their teams to exchange salary figures, making it a soft deadline of sorts for deals to be struck. Here’s a summary of the 10 Dodgers who all reached agreements for 2024, the fourth consecutive offseason the team will avoid an arbitration hearing.

The collective bargaining agreement called for the exchange date for 2024 to be Friday, January 12, but the league and players associated agreed recently to push this year’s exchange date up one day to Thursday at 5 p.m. PT, which Alden González at ESPN reported on Wednesday.

Catcher Will Smith got the biggest deal of arbitration-eligible for arbitration, signing for $8.55 million in his second time going through the process. That’s a 63-percent increase over last season for Smith.

The comeback trail

A trio of Dodgers who missed all of the 2023 season after surgery are going through the arbitration process for the first time, having just reached three year of service time.

Walker Buehler is coming back from August 2022 Tommy John surgery and flexor tendon repair, and reached agreement for $8.025 million in his final year before free agency. That matches his salary last year.

Gavin Lux tore his ACL and sprained his MCL during the third game of spring training, and missed the entire season. Lux will get $1.225 million in 2024, per Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times.

J.P. Feyereisen had surgery in December 2022 to repair the rotator cuff and labrum in his right shoulder. He’ll make $770,000, per Harris.

Dustin May, who had elbow surgery in July and is expected to miss the bulk of the 2024 season, is arb-eligible for a second time. He’ll get $2.135 million this year, per Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

What a relief

The top four on the Dodgers in games pitched last year — Brusdar Graterol, Caleb Ferguson, Evan Phillips, and Alex Vesia — were all eligible for salary arbitration.

The two back-end relievers got paid the most, with Phillips agreeing for $4 million, per Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic, and Graterol getting $2.7 million, per Ardaya.

Ferguson, with five years of service time, is going through arbitration for a third time. He’ll make $2.4 million, per Kiley McDaniel at ESPN.

Vesia just reached three years of service time so this is his first time through arbitration. He’ll be paid $1 million in 2024, per Ardaya.

Swingman

Yarbrough had a 4.52 ERA and 4.33 xERA in 89⅔ innings between the Royals and Dodgers, maing nine starts and 16 bulk relief appearances. That included a 4.89 ERA after getting acquired by Los Angeles at the trade deadline, but his Dodgers stint included giving up 12 runs in his first 10 games, then nine runs in a final blow-up start at Coors Field.

He’ll get $3.9 million in 2024, per McDaniel.

In the 10 offseasons of the Andrew Freidman-led Dodgers front office, 80 players entered January eligible for arbitration and still unsigned 78 of them signed by the exchange date, and 78 of those 80 players eventually reached agreement on a contract. The last arbitration hearings for the Dodgers were in 2020, beating Joc Pederson and losing to Pedro Báez. Those are the only two Dodgers arbitration hearings in the last 17 years.

Here’s how the salaries for the 10 arbitration-eligible Dodgers compare to their projections:

Dodgers eligible for salary arbitration in 2024

Player Pos Service time 2023 salary 2024 salary MLBTR proj. Cot's proj. TBLA proj. Avg. projection
Player Pos Service time 2023 salary 2024 salary MLBTR proj. Cot's proj. TBLA proj. Avg. projection
Walker Buehler SP 5.168 $8,025,000 $8,025,000 $8,030,000 $8,025,000 $8,200,000 $8,085,000
Ryan Yarbrough LHP 5.117 $3,000,000 $3,900,000 $3,800,000 $4,000,000 $4,250,000 $4,016,667
Caleb Ferguson LHP 5.093 $1,100,000 $2,400,000 $2,300,000 $2,250,000 $2,350,000 $2,300,000
Will Smith C 4.090 $5,250,000 $8,550,000 $9,300,000 $9,000,000 $9,450,000 $9,250,000
Dustin May SP 4.059 $1,675,000 $2,135,000 $2,400,000 $2,250,000 $2,650,000 $2,433,333
Brusdar Graterol RHP 3.167 $1,225,000 $2,700,000 $2,500,000 $2,550,000 $2,400,000 $2,483,333
Evan Phillips RHP 3.136 $1,300,000 $4,000,000 $3,400,000 $3,100,000 $3,200,000 $3,233,333
Gavin Lux SS 3.114 $750,000 $1,225,000 $1,100,000 $900,000 $1,500,000 $1,166,667
J.P. Feyereisen RHP 3.108 $750,000 $770,000 $1,000,000 $900,000 $950,000 $950,000
Alex Vesia LHP 3.078 $750,000 $1,000,000 $1,200,000 $1,500,000 $1,400,000 $1,366,667