Arbitration Round-Up: Bellinger, Muncy, Seager Among 12 Dodgers Expected to Get Raises

While the offseason trade rumors and free agent rumblings loom large, the Dodgers currently have 12 players on their roster who are arbitration eligible and expected to earn significant raises.

For those not familiar with the arbitration process, MLB utilizes the system for players who have not logged enough MLB service time to become true free agents. There are three phases for players: Pre-Arbitration, Arbitration, and Free Agency. A player who has between three and six years of service time will fall into the arbitration category.

Once in arbitration, players can either fall into Arbitration-1, Arbitration-2, or Arbitration-3, which is determined by their service time.

(Note: Special cases classified as “Super-2” players may have 4 years of arbitration. Cody Bellinger actually falls into this category)

Once a player falls into Arbitration-3 (except in Super-2 cases), it means they are in the final year of team control, and will become a free agent the following year. To become a true agent a player must accrue six full seasons of MLB service time.

Arbitration determines a player’s salary relative to comparable players using a third party. If a team and player cannot agree on a salary, each side will submit a figure to the arbitration panel, and then the panel will decide the player’s salary.

A player must file for arbitration by mid January, and the hearings take place in early February, if the team and player do not agree on a salary before then.

A large chunk of the Dodgers offseason budget will be spent on players currently on their roster.

The 12 players who are arbitration eligible: Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, Joc Pederson, Julio Urias, Enrique Hernandez, Pedro Baez, Chris Taylor, Yimi Garcia, Ross Stripling, Austin Barnes, Scott Alexander

MLB Trade Rumors and Matt Swartz have a model to predict the expected raises, so let’s take a look at their projected raises:

Cody Bellinger: $11.6 mil (up from $605,000)

Max Muncy: $4.6 mil (up from $575,000)

Corey Seager: $7.1 mil (up from $4 mil)

Joc Pederson: $8.5 mil (up from $5 mil)

Julio Urias: $1.7 mil (up from $565,000)

Enrique Hernandez: $5.5 mil (up from $3.75 mil)

Pedro Baez: $3.3 mil (up from $2.1 mil)

Chris Taylor: $5 mil (up from $3.5 mil)

Yimi Garcia: $1.1 mil (up from $710,000)

Ross Stripling: $2.3 mil (up from $595,000)

Austin Barnes: $1.3 mil (up from $451,000)

Scott Alexander: $1 mil (up from $575,000)

(Pederson, Hernandez, Baez, and Garcia are in the final year of the team control/Arb-3) 

These expected salary increases account for a little over $50 million total, and while shedding the hefty contracts of Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu (as of now) will help ease the financial burden, these raises will no doubt play a large factor in the Dodgers ability, or willingness, to go after big name free agents like Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg (if he opts out).

Rich Hill ($18.6 mil base salary), Hyun-Jin Ryu (17.9 mil base salary), Russell Martin ($20 mil base salary/$3.6 mil adjusted) and David Freese ($4.5 mil base salary) are all off the books, and it’s possible, although unlikely, that Kenley Jansen could opt out of the remaining 2 years and $38 million on his deal.

The Dodgers also have the ability to non-tender players, making them non-tender free agents, instead of going to arbitration or offering them a contract, and as always, the team can also try to trade one or more of these players as well.

It’s always nice to see players get rewarded with raises, but the large amount of money expected to spent in this department could seriously hinder the ownership’s willingness to improve the team with outside help.

These estimated increases are indeed projections, but the likely numbers shouldn’t vary too much from the above figures.

(Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin)