Bellinger a salary arbitration heavyweight

January 9th, 2020

LOS ANGELES -- The deadline for arbitration-eligible players and their clubs to exchange salary figures is 10 a.m. PT on Friday, and the Dodgers have a potential record-breaker looming with National League MVP .

Bellinger is the marquee attraction among nine eligible Dodgers. He’s joined by , , , , , , and .

The Dodgers renewed Bellinger’s salary at $605,000 in 2019, when he lacked sufficient service time to qualify for arbitration. As an MVP who previously was NL Rookie of the Year, Bellinger could seek a salary in excess of Kris Bryant’s $10.85 million in 2018, the record for a first-time arbitration-eligible player.

Baseball Prospectus, in projections by Cot’s, assigns an $11 million salary to Bellinger for 2020.

Although Friday is mandated only for the exchange of figures, the Dodgers under president Andrew Friedman have also used that date as an arbitrary cutoff for negotiations. If no agreement is reached by then, the club has informed players in recent years that the case goes to a hearing, with a panel of arbitrators selecting one number or the other and nothing in between.

That file-and-trial strategy effectively results in pre-deadline settlements, perhaps because Friedman went 5-0 in hearings while with Tampa Bay.

Since the inception of salary arbitration 44 years ago, the Dodgers are 14-6 in cases decided by a hearing and 6-1 in their last seven cases, dating to 1991. That includes the most recent wins, over in 2007 and in 2004.

The last player to win a hearing against the Dodgers was in 2001. The club's first arbitration case was in 1975, when Ron Cey was awarded a salary of $56,000 instead of the club's submission of $47,000.