clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dodgers finalize 1-year contract with James Paxton

LHP gets $7 million guaranteed, plus potential for up to $13 million

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Kansas City Royals v Boston Red Sox Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images

The Dodgers on Monday made official their one-year deal with pitcher James Paxton, signing the veteran left-hander on a one-year contract for 2024. The deal could potentially be worth $13 million, with differing reports on the guaranteed value of the deal.

Ronald Blum of Associated Press first reported Monday that Paxton gets a $3 million signing bonus and $8 million salary, for a total of $11 million guaranteed with potentially up to $2 million in bonuses:

He would receive a $1 million bonus if he is on the active opening day roster, and if Paxton does not earn that bonus he could trigger a $500,000 bonus if he is on the active roster by April 15.

Paxton can earn $1 million in performance bonuses for starts: $250,000 each for 16 and 18, and $500,000 for 20.

On Wednesday, Ken Rosenthal and Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reported that the total guarantee was “reworked” to $7 million, for an unspecified health reason, with different structures for the roster bonus and starts incentives:

Paxton has a lengthy injury history, including a hamstring strain and knee injury limiting him to just 19 starts for the Red Sox in 2023, which was his first time back on the mound after Tommy John surgery in April 2021. He had a 4.50 ERA and 3.77 xERA in 19 starts.

In his first 16 starts last season, Paxton had a 3.34 ERA and 4.08 FIP, with essentially the same strikeout rate (26.3 percent) and walk rate (6.5 percent) as eventual American League Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole (26.6, 6.7). But that’s when the knee problems started, after which Paxton allowed 17 runs in 9⅔ innings over his final three starts before ending his season, including giving up four runs and five walks against the Dodgers on August 26 while getting knocked out of the game in the fifth inning.

Paxton, now 35, gives the Dodgers a fourth left-handed pitcher on the 40-man roster, along with swingman Ryan Yarbrough plus relievers Caleb Ferguson and Alex Vesia.

Paxton will wear uniform number 65 with Los Angeles.

The Dodgers this offseason have signed or traded for eight players, adding a total of $1.22 billion in guaranteed salary. The bulk of that was in the record-setting contracts signed by Japanese stars Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, but the other six players have added $78.6 million in 2024 payroll alone and $192 million overall, dwarfing last offseason’s total additions of $64.3 million that was fueled by one-year contracts.

With 26 players under contract, the Dodgers’ 2024 payroll for competitive balance tax purposes is estimated at roughly $306.8 million, using the $7 million guarantee for Paxton. That’s over the fourth, and highest threshold of $297 million, meaning any additional salary the Dodgers add this season would be taxed at a 110-percent rate.

The Paxton signing fills the Dodgers’ 40-man roster. The team cleared two spots by trading Michael Busch and Yency Almonte to the Cubs on January 11, and the first of those roster spots was for outfielder Teoscar Hernández.