The Dodgers won’t have any arbitration hearings this offseason after all.
On Tuesday, the team announced it had agreed to terms with pitcher Tony Gonsolin on a two-year contract worth $6.65 million plus significant escalators, thus avoiding an arbitration hearing.
Of the Dodgers’ 10 arbitration-eligible players this winter, Gonsolin was the only one who failed to settle with the team on a salary for 2023 ahead of a mid-January deadline. Instead, Gonsolin filed at $3.4 million while the Dodgers filed at $3 million.
Typically, the Dodgers are a “file and trial” team, meaning they don’t continue negotiations after the filing deadline while awaiting an arbitration hearing. They have, however, made exceptions for multi-year contracts. And this year, Gonsolin became the latest example.
Gonsolin had a breakout performance in 2022, earning his first All-Star selection while going 16-1 with a 2.14 ERA, by far the best season of his four-year career.
He helped anchor the rotation while Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler battled injuries. He spent much of the summer near the top of the major league ERA leaderboard. And he looked primed to play a key role in the team’s postseason plans.
But the right-hander suffered a forearm strain in late August that limited him to just one more regular season start and hampering him during a brief outing in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.
Still, as they went through the arbitration process — Gonsolin’s first after he qualified as a “Super Two” player, giving him four years of arbitration eligibility instead of the customary three — the pitcher and the team weren’t far apart and ultimately settled in the middle for a 2023 salary of $3.25 million, according to people with knowledge of the situation unauthorized to speak publicly.
In 2024, Gonsolin’s base salary will be $3.4 million but includes escalators based off the number of starts he makes in 2023 that could increase his total earnings to more than $6 million, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
The Dodgers struck a similar deal with Buehler in 2021 after he had also reached arbitration a year early as a Super Two player.
With Buehler likely to miss 2023 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Dodgers are banking on Gonsolin to help fill the void.
After Tuesday, they now know how much they’ll owe him the next couple of seasons, as well.