While the Los Angeles Dodgers avoided arbitration with the likes of Cody Bellinger, Dylan Floro, Corey Knebel, Corey Seager and Julio Urias prior to the January deadline, they initially could not do so with Walker Buehler and Austin Barnes.
Players and teams that failed to come to terms were permitted to continue negotiating before arbitration hearings take place this month. For Buehler, it is his first time going through the process.
The right-hander reportedly filed at $4.15 million for his 2021 salary, while the Dodgers countered with $3.3 million. He reportedly was planning to go through with the hearing unless a multi-year extension could be reached.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Dodgers and Buehler agreed to a two-year contract that includes a signing bonus:
The Dodgers have avoided arbitration with RHP Walker Buehler, signing him to a two-year, $8M contract, a source tells @TheAthletic. The deal includes a $2M signing bonus, $2.75M salary in 2021 and $3.25M salary in ‘22.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 11, 2021
Though traditionally a file and trial team, the Dodgers will avoid going to court after buying out some of Buehler’s arbitration years. They took a similar path last year by signing Max Muncy and Chris Taylor to multi-year extensions.
Because Buehler qualified as a Super Two player, he still has two arbitration-eligible years remaining in 2023 and 2024 before becoming a free agent. Of course, that’s contingent on the current system remaining in place after the CBA expires Dec. 1.
Buehler is coming off a solid 2020 season despite being somewhat limited by blister issues. In eight regular-season starts, he went 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 0.96 WHIP and 42 strikeouts in 36.2 innings.
Buehler once again elevated his game come playoff time, going 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 25 innings (five starts).
Barnes still unsigned
With Buehler now signed for the next two seasons, all eyes are on Barnes as he remains the lone players the Dodgers haven’t avoided arbitration with.
Barnes is said to be seeking a multi-year contract as well, but it remains to be seen if one will be worked out before Spring Training begins.
Barnes is coming off another season in which he struggled at the plate, but there was some improvement down the stretch, which he attributed to assistance from Mookie Betts.
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