Earlier this offseason, the Los Angeles Dodgers tendered contracts to 10 players that prevented them from becoming free agents and guaranteed they would remain under contract at least through the 2023 season.
Among the group was Will Smith, who is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time in his career. He is coming off another productive season that saw him hit .260/.343/.465 with 26 doubles, 24 home runs, 87 RBI and 68 runs scored in 137 games.
MLB Trade Rumors projected Smith to earn a $5.2 million salary this year, which would mark a raise of nearly $4.5 million from the 2022 campaign.
With Friday serving as the deadline for teams to exchange salary figures with their arbitration-eligible players, Smith and the Dodgers reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year, $5.25 million contract, via Juan Toribio of MLB.com:
#Dodgers and Will Smith settle at $5.25 million to avoid arbitration, per source.
— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) January 13, 2023
Smith ended up receiving a slightly higher salary than what was projected, but it is well deserved as he continued to cement his case as one of baseball’s top catchers last year.
The Dodgers have additionally reached reported agreements with Walker Buehler, Caleb Ferguson, Dustin May and Trayce Thompson as they attempt to work out deals with remaining arbitration-eligible players. Since Andrew Friedman was named president of baseball operations at the end of the 2014 season, the club has been a “file and trial” team in arbitration.
That means if an agreement isn’t reached by the deadline, an arbitration hearing will likely follow. However, players and teams are still allowed to negotiate contract terms past the deadline.
Max Muncy, Chris Taylor, Austin Barnes and Buehler are among those who signed multi-year contract extensions to avoid a hearing.
Will Smith among Dodgers who received bonuses through pre-arbitration program
Smith and Tony Gonsolin were among the 11 players who received bonuses for placing in year-end awards after being named to the All-MLB Second Team.
The pre-arbitration bonus pool consists of $50 million for players who do not achieve Super Two status and are yet to accrue three years of Major League service time. It was implemented as part of the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Are you following Dodger Blue on Instagram? It’s the best way to see exclusive coverage from games and events, get your questions answered, and more!