When Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association reached an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement in March, one of the new elements in the CBA was a “pre-arbitration bonus pool.” The two sides ultimately agreed on a $50 million pool, with the money coming evenly from all 30 teams and the bonuses allocated to players who haven’t yet reached arbitration based on postseason awards voting and overall performance.
The breakdown for the first round of bonuses came out on Friday, and two Dodgers are taking home a nice little Christmas bonus. According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, 11 players are getting bonuses of more than $1 million, including three who are getting more than $2 million.
There are no Dodgers on that million-dollar list, but Feinsand lists L.A. catcher Will Smith as having “checked in just shy of $1 million.” Smith received a bonus of $500,000 for making the All-MLB Second Team, on top of his share of the performance pool.
Tony Gonsolin’s late-season injury likely cost him at least $1 million, as he seemed a lock to finish in the top five in the Cy Young voting before he missed most of the last six weeks of the season. Gonsolin would have been in line for $1 million if he finished fourth or fifth in the voting, $1.5 million for third place, $1.75 million for second, or $2.5 million for first. Instead, he just takes home his performance bonus, but as the eighth-best player in the group, his share is over $500,000.
Eight more earned at least $1M from the pre-arb performance bonus plan:
Zac Gallen $1,670,875
Julio Rodriguez $1,550,850
Michael Harris II $1,361,435
Emmanuel Clase $1,354,962
Andres Gimenez $1,308,805
Adley Rutschman $1,177,555
Kyle Tucker $1,146,555
Spencer Strider $1,077,294
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 9, 2022
These bonuses don’t count towards L.A.’s payroll or luxury tax numbers. Each team contributes just under $1.7 million to the pool, and that amount counts towards the luxury tax rather than the individual payouts.
Overall, 100 players received payouts, and while Smith and Gonsolin are the only ones we know for sure, Evan Phillips is likely on the list, too. There’s a report that Trent Grisham received the lowest bonus of just over $200,000, and Phillips had a higher WAR than him on both Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, so he presumably scored higher on MLB’s jWAR calculation, too. Assuming Phillips got right around $200,000, the Dodgers’ bonuses would almost exactly match their contribution to the fund.
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