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Dodgers Offseason: Could LA Work Out an Extension with Julio Urias?

Scott Boras is famous for not working out extensions for his clients, instead opting to test the free-agent market whenever possible. Of course, Sinbad is famous for starring in the movie Shazaam, so not everything someone is famous for has to be true.

To be sure, Boras clients are probably less likely to sign an extension before free agency than clients of other agents, but agents work for players, not the other way around. An agent’s job is to get as much money for his client as possible, and sometimes, that comes in the form of an extension — for example, Boras client Cody Bellinger would be much better off if he’d negotiated an extension with the Dodgers after his MVP season in 2019.



Before Xander Bogaerts became a free agent this offseason, he and Boras worked out an extension with Boston after the 2018 season, delaying Bogaerts’ free agency by three years. Jose Altuve has never been a free agent, as he and Boras worked out an extension with the Astros before he reached that point. Elvis Andrus, Jered Weaver, Stephen Strasburg, Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gonzalez — plenty of big-name Boras clients have inked extensions.

All of which brings us to Julio Urias, who is heading into his final season with the Dodgers before hitting free agency. Is there a chance Julio could sign an extension to stay with L.A.?

First, let’s talk about what’s working against an extension, from both sides. On the team side, any extension would surely have a higher average annual value (AAV) than the $13.7 million Urias is projected to make in arbitration this year, and AAV is how the luxury tax payroll is calculated. The Dodgers are perilously close to the luxury tax after Trevor Bauer’s reinstatement, so any extension for Julio would surely put them over the limit. Of course, staying under the tax might be a pipe dream at this point anyway, in which case all bets are off.

From the Urias side, the downside of an extension is the possibility of making a lot more in free agency. Right now, Julio is coming off two outstanding seasons, going 20-3 with a 2.96 ERA in 2021 before going 17-7 with a league-leading 2.16 ERA in 2022. He’s just 26 years old — he won’t turn 27 until mid-August — and has shown the ability to be an outstanding starter or reliever. Despite being in the league for seven years, Urias has just 599.2 big-league innings under his belt, “thanks” to a shoulder injury in 2017 that cost him most of two seasons and some time working out of the bullpen after his return. If Urias has another great season in 2023, he’d be one of the top pitchers on the free-agent market.

But there are things working in favor of an extension, too. From the L.A. standpoint, Urias has become the ace of the rotation, and there’s a lot of uncertainty in that rotation going forward — Clayton Kershaw’s year-to-year status, Walker Buehler’s injury and upcoming free agency, etc. — so locking in a key piece like Julio would be huge.

Urias is beloved in Los Angeles, which has a huge Latino population (and, specifically, Mexican and Mexican-American population) that has embraced Julio as a spiritual successor to Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela. That relationship was only strengthened when it was Urias on the mound to close out L.A. World Series title in 2020, and the bond between player and city could incentivize both sides to want to keep Urias in Dodger blue for a long time.

There’s also the goodwill that was built up on both sides when Urias was suspended for violation of the league’s domestic violence policy in 2019. While no charges were filed and Julio’s 20-game suspension was one of the lightest in the history of the policy, Urias took responsibility for his actions and has been a model citizen since, and the Dodgers stood by the lefty and helped him to grow from the experience. The relationship between team and player seems stronger for it.

And finally, there’s just the uncertainty of life. While Julio has been one of the best pitchers in baseball the last two years, he’s only five years removed from a career-threatening injury. He could potentially make $200 million in free agency if he has another great season, but if he could get $140 million in guaranteed money right now, that would certainly have to be tempting. It’s not like Urias needs the money — his projected salary in arbitration would bring his career earnings over $27 million — but he’s already spent a lot of time and money to help his hometown of Culiacan, Mexico, and a guaranteed payday now would ensure his ability to do even more in the future.

An extension for Julio still doesn’t seem likely, but it’s not as simple as saying, “Boras client, no way.” The client works for the player, and in this case, there are plenty of reasons why the player might want to stay.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. He's been blogging about baseball and the Dodgers 2004 and doing it professionally since 2015. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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15 Comments

  1. They need to work out a 5 year deal with him and look past this year and start using their young guns even if it’s only 6 innings.

  2. He’s worth much more than Rodon that’s for sure. So anything under 30 million per year would be low balling him. Am sure he’ll sign for less with dodgers but he’ll get more than 30 million per year as free agent

      1. He’ll be 27 as a FA. Boras will want a minimum of 8 years – probably 10 – and he’ll get it from some one. Probably the Mets.

  3. I roll my eyes whenever I see an article like this. Why are you asking us a question that we don’t have an answer for? Ask the general manager or Urias himself. We have no clue!

  4. It would be in the Dodgers’ best interest to extend him. I doubt Boras will let it happen. A greedy agent will take his, star, players into free agency whenever its possible. Urias deserves a fat contract!!!

  5. I have a lot of professional respect for Scott Boros. I emphasize “professional”. He is an advisor and has the best interest in mind for his clients. He is the best at his trade. Having said that, HE FRUSTRATES ME !!!!! Boros and Steve Cohen ( and a few other owners) have the ability to ruin baseball as we know it. Fans have been saying for decades that salaries are becoming ridiculous and have the potential to ruin the game as we know it. As long as we the fans tolerate the high prices (tickets, parking, concessions, cable tv, etc.) to support MLB in all phasis, the prices will continue to rise. We, the fans, have ourselves to blame ….. including me!!!!!

  6. It’s hard to tell what Andrew Friedman will do at any given moment. You can say the same for Boras. That being said, the Dodgers would be stupid to not try to lock Urias up for the next five-six years. I can imagine they are going to try big to sign Ohtani next year, but, but locking up Urias would in the long run be smart, on a financial level, a public relations level, and a baseball lovel. When you go to a Dodgers game, more than half of the fans are hispanic. There is also a huge Asian poplulation in LA and Ohtani would attract that poplulation as well. Extend him already.

  7. He ll get at least 30 M X year at 26 37 W 10 L best record and ERA in the last 2 years 40 year olds getting more than 30 M

  8. Extending Julio does not necessarily mean going over the luxury tax threshold. Rafael Devers was in a similar situation with the Red Sox this offseason (last arb year before FA) but according to MLB Trade Rumors, Boston’s 2023 payroll for luxury tax purposes only considers Devers’ 2023 salary and none of the extension money.
    I am not a MLB contract lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but I assume that for this to work, you have to agree to the 1 year contract first, then sign the extension separately, not sign an extension that covers the last arb year + N years of free agency.

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