Arb deadline recap: Who signed? Who exchanged numbers?

January 12th, 2024

Roughly 100 arbitration-eligible players woke up Thursday hoping to settle on a contract figure for 2024, avoiding the prospect of an arbitration hearing. The vast majority went to sleep with such a contract completed, agreeing to deals for the upcoming season.

A total of 23 players did not come to an agreement with their club by Thursday’s deadline, exchanging salary figures with the expectation of heading to an arbitration hearing. That’s 10 fewer than last year, when a record 33 players exchanged numbers with their respective clubs.

One of those 23 reached a new deal hours after exchanging salary numbers, as Devin Williams and the Brewers came to terms on a new contract late Thursday night, according to a source.

Williams will earn $7 million in 2024, while the Brewers will have a $10.5 million club option ($250,000 buyout) for 2025. That option can escalate to $11.5 million based on games pitched, while the deal also includes awards bonuses. Williams had filed for a $7.3 million salary, while the Brewers had countered at $6.65 million.

Just as Milwaukee did with Williams, some clubs will continue to negotiate multi-year deals with players after exchanging salary figures, but in most cases, any talks about one-year deals are off the table once those numbers are exchanged.

Here are some takeaways from this year’s arbitration deadline:

The Top 10, revisited

A year ago, Shohei Ohtani established a new record for the largest one-year contract for an arbitration-eligible player, agreeing to a $30 million deal with the Angels.

But records are meant to be broken, and Juan Soto did just that on Thursday, agreeing to a $31 million deal with the Yankees, who acquired the superstar slugger last month. That represented an $8 million raise for Soto, who is slated to become a free agent at the end of the 2024 campaign. 

Pete Alonso was the only other player to land a deal worth at least $20 million, agreeing to a $20.5 million deal with the Mets. Like Soto, Alonso -- who received a $6 million raise from last season -- is headed for free agency at the end of 2024.

Prior to Friday, this is what the list of the 10 biggest one-year contracts ever given to arbitration-eligible players looked like:

Shohei Ohtani $30M (2023)
Mookie Betts $27M (2020)
Nolan Arenado $26M (2019)
Josh Donaldson $23M (2018)
Juan Soto $23M (2023)
Bryce Harper $21.625M (2018)
Francisco Lindor $21.3 (2021)
Mookie Betts $20M (2019)
David Price $19.75M (2015)
Aaron Judge $19M (2022)

Eight of those deals remain on that list following Thursday, as Soto established a new record while Alonso became the 10th arbitration-eligible player ever to land a one-year deal worth at least $20 million, knocking both Price and Judge off the list.

Juan Soto $31M (2024)
Shohei Ohtani $30M (2023)
Mookie Betts $27M (2020)
Nolan Arenado $26M (2019)
Josh Donaldson $23M (2018)
Juan Soto $23M (2023)
Bryce Harper $21.625M (2018)
Francisco Lindor $21.3 (2021)
Pete Alonso $20.5M (2024)
Mookie Betts $20M (2019)

Exchange rate

Sixteen teams were able to come to terms with all of their arbitration-eligible players by Thursday: Athletics, Braves, Brewers, Cubs, D-backs, Dodgers, Guardians, Mariners, Nationals, Padres, Pirates, Red Sox, Rockies, Royals, White Sox and Yankees. As noted above, the Brewers did exchange with Williams, but their late deal with him leaves them with no unsigned players. 

Of the other 14 clubs that exchanged numbers with at least one player, the Orioles had the most with five. The Marlins exchanged with three players, while the Angels and Rays (two each) were the only other clubs to exchange with more than one player. 

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is seeking the highest salary of those players who filed, asking for $19.9 million from the Blue Jays, who filed at $18.05 million. The only other player seeking an eight-figure salary is Luis Arraez, who has won batting titles in each of the past two years. Arraez filed for $12 million, while the Marlins countered at $10.6 million.

Adolis García, who won ALCS MVP honors for the Rangers last October, filed for $6.9 million, while Texas countered at $5 million. The $1.9 million spread marks the widest margin between filing numbers this year, edging out Guerrero, who is asking for $1.85 million more than Toronto’s filing number. 

The smallest spread between player and club? Detroit’s Casey Mize, whose $840,000 million filing was just $25,000 higher than the Tigers’ filing of $815,000 million.

Here’s a complete list of the 22 players who exchanged figures with their clubs, broken down by team. Both the player’s and the team’s filed salaries are in parenthesis:

José Suarez ($1.35 million), Angels ($925,000)
Taylor Ward ($4.8 million), Angels ($4.3 million)

Mauricio Dubón ($3.5 million), Astros ($3 million)

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($19.9 million), Blue Jays ($18.05 million)

Tommy Edman ($6.95 million), Cardinals ($6.5 million)

J.D. Davis ($6.9 million), Giants ($6.55 million)

Luis Arraez ($12 million), Marlins ($10.6 million)
Jazz Chisholm Jr. ($2.9 million), Marlins ($2.625 million)
Tanner Scott ($5.7 million), Marlins ($5.15 million)

Phil Bickford ($900,000), Mets ($815,000)

Danny Coulombe ($2.4 million), Orioles ($2.2 million)
Austin Hays ($6.3 million), Orioles ($5.85 million)
Ryan O’Hearn ($3.8 million), Orioles ($3.2 million)
Cionel Pérez ($1.4 million), Orioles ($1.1 million)
Jacob Webb ($1 million), Orioles ($925,000)

Alec Bohm ($4 million), Phillies ($3.4 million)

Adolis García ($6.9 million), Rangers ($5 million)

Harold Ramírez ($4.3 million), Rays ($3.8 million)
Jason Adam ($3.25 million), Rays ($2.7 million)

Jonathan India ($4 million), Reds ($3.2 million)

Casey Mize ($840,000), Tigers ($815,000)

Nick Gordon ($1.25 million), Twins ($900,000)

Not repeating history

Among the players that settled on deals Thursday were Houston’s Kyle Tucker ($12 million), Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes ($15.6375 million) and Jesús Luzardo ($5.5 million), all of whom went to hearings last year after they were unable to come to terms prior to the deadline.

Of the 19 players who went to hearings in 2023, only Miami’s Arraez and Tampa Bay’s Ramírez and Adam are lined up to go to a hearing for a second straight year. Although clubs won 13 of the 19 hearings last year, all three of those players won their respective cases.

Eight is enough

In addition to Soto and Alonso, 10 others agreed to terms on deals worth more than $10 million, joining the group of players who will earn eight figures in 2024:

Juan Soto, Yankees ($31 million)
Pete Alonso, Mets ($20.5 million)
Corbin Burnes, Brewers ($15.6375 million)
Max Fried, Braves ($15 million)
Gleyber Torres, Yankees ($14.2 million)
Shane Bieber, Guardians ($13.125 million)
Framber Valdez, Astros ($12.1 million)
Kyle Tucker, Astros ($12 million)
Anthony Santander, Orioles ($11.7 million)
Christian Walker, D-backs ($10.9 million)
Zac Gallen, D-backs ($10.011 million)
Shane Bieber, Guardians ($10.01 million)