MLB Arbitration Day: Juan Soto awarded $23 million contract; Josh Hader earns an ARB record deal for a reliever

Friday marks Major League Baseball’s arbitration deadline, which means it’s the last day for arbitration-eligible teams and players to exchange salary numbers for the upcoming season.

As a reminder, players with three to six years of major league service time* are paid for or at least reported by salary arbitration. Referee salaries usually come out of negotiations between the team and the ARB-eligible player, but if an agreement cannot be reached, each side sends their salary number to the arbitration panel. Next, the committee chooses one or the other character – neither averages the two numbers given or draws a salary out of thin air for the player. This dynamic encourages serious negotiation, and explains why you won’t see ridiculous personality trade-offs by a player or team (if either party offers an unreasonable salary number, the committee will quickly choose the corresponding number).

As for that star

Above, a small group of players known as the “Super Duo” are eligible for arbitration for an additional year on salary after only two years of MLB service. In general, though, players see significant salary growth in the three, fourth, and fifth years of their careers heading into free agency after six years of service time. This is thanks to arbitration. By a notable example, Angels two-way star Shuhei Ohtani back in October sidestepped the process by agreeing to a one-year, $30 million agreement for the next year. Not surprisingly, this is a record salary for an ARB-eligible player.

Most ARB-eligible players will agree to next season’s salaries before the deadline, and others will agree to terms before an arbitration hearing is set. Fewer will not come to an agreement with their teams and will actually participate in a hearing, but hearings can get contentious and confusing – in essence they ask teams to play down the achievements of the player in question – and both sides usually prefer to avoid that final step. This “model” qualification is important, as some clubs take a “file and court” approach, whereby they refuse to conduct further negotiations if deadline day does not result in an agreement. It should also be noted that for some high-profile ARB-eligible players, long-term extensions can arise from these conversations. That is, negotiations with ARB-eligible players do not You have

To conclude an agreement for a period of one year. Sometimes it can even result in nine-figure agreements that “buy” players’ remaining years and one or more free agent seasons.

Below we’ll track the notable signings on deadline day, led by one who fell just before the finish line on Friday.

Devers and the Red Sox agree to a major extension

team logo The Red Sox earlier this month stopped the trend of bleeding home starsSigning third baseman Rafael Devers to an 11-year, $331 million extension

. Devers was arbitration-eligible for a third year and set to become free agency after the 2023 season. Instead, he will wear a Boston uniform for years to come.

Devers, 26, hit .295/.358/.521 (141 OPS+) with 42 doubles, 27 homers, and a 4.4 WAR last season and made his second consecutive All-Star team. He’s already amassed nearly 3,000 hits in 689 regular season games since debuting at just 20 years old and has slashed .283/.342/.512 (124 OPS+) over that span. He led the AL with 54 doubles in 2019 and has two seasons of 30-plus homers, and a season over 100-RBI to his credit.

Soto and Padres seal a deal for 2023

team logo Padres and superstar Juan Soto have agreed to a $23 million contract for 2023,ESPN reports

. Soto was last season’s trade deadline awardee, and in 153 games combined for the Padres and Nationals, he hit 27 home runs and an MLB-leading 135 walks. For his career, the 24-year-old has an OPS+ of 157 in the sky. Soto is set to become free agency after the 2024 season, which means another year of arbitration eligibility. The big question remains if the Padres will be able to sign him to a (record-breaking) long-term extension before he reaches free agency. What we do know is that no long-term agreement has been reached from Friday’s deadline.

Growler sets a record for thinners

team logo Closer Josh Hader and the Padres have agreed to a $14 million deal for 2023,Reporting by Robert Murray

. This is the arbitration record salary for a reliever. Hader struggled with the Brewers last season and did worse overall after the trade to San Diego. However, starting in September andThrough the NLCS track for the Padres

Hader seemed to find his form—one that saw him save 132 games, reach a 156+ ERA in his career, strike out 563 batters in 332 1/3 innings pitched, and make four All-Star teams. No doubt the Roaring and Padres will be hoping for more of that peak in his 29-year-old season.

Other notables


No deal by deadline

  • According to various reports, the players below are among those who couldn’t handle their teams before Friday’s deadline. This means that negotiations may continue or be closed prior to the hearing.
  • Max Fried, Braves
  • Ryan Helsley, Cardinals

Teoscar Hernandez, Mariners

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