Today is the deadline for teams and their arbitration-eligible players to submit salary figures for the arbitration process. What that means from a practical standpoint is it’s the day a lot of players and teams agree on a contract to avoid arbitration, which is good for everyone involved.
The Dodgers had 10 eligible players this offseason — well, they had 12, but they non-tendered Cody Bellinger and Edwin Rios to bring the number down to 10 — and they’ve had a slew of settlements. One of those is relief pitcher Caleb Ferguson.
This might seem like an inconsequential agreement, but it’s actually a relatively big deal, as Ferguson had been projected to earn $1,765,764 in arbitration, so this contract reduces L.A.’s estimated luxury tax payroll by $665,764, a very meaningful amount when a team is as close to the threshold as Los Angeles figures to be. They’ll likely still need to make a trade at some point to reduce their payroll, especially after adding Miguel Rojas’s $5 million this week, but the closer they get, the more options they have to get that done.
Ferguson came into his own as a reliever in 2020, but unfortunately he blew out his elbow late in that shortened season and had Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, but he had a solid season once he returned. He actually had a 0.00 ERA through his first 19 appearances, but the second half of his season wasn’t as successful, with a 3.94 ERA in 16 innings pushing his season ERA up to 1.82.
Still, his second year back from Tommy John should be promising for Ferguson, who is still just 26 years old. He’s gone from 38th-round draft pick to reliable relief pitcher, and now he can add “millionaire” to his résumé.
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