The Dodgers have inked a new contract with righty Walker Buehler, but it won’t expand upon the team’s control rights. Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links), the deal will resolve Buehler’s arbitration case by guaranteeing him $8MM over the next two seasons.
MLBTR had projected Buehler to earn in the $2.3MM to $3.1MM range for the 2021 campaign. The contract provides a $2.75MM salary along with a $3.25MM rate of pay for 2022. That latter number is obviously light, which is why Buehler will also enjoy a $2MM signing bonus.
The Dodgers gain cost certainty and avoid a hearing with a critical young player. In exchange for sacrificing some contractual upside, Buehler will lock in some serious career earnings and gain some long-term protection from injury.
Buehler will also retain a chance to boost his earnings through escalator provisions. Per Rosenthal, the deal calls for Buehler to earn an additional $500K upon reaching each of six games started thresholds (14, 16, 18, 20, 24, 28). Cy Young voting outcomes can also bump the payday: $1.125MM for a win or $625K for a top-three finish.
The 26-year-old Buehler reached arbitration eligibility as a Super Two player. He’ll have two more arb-eligible campaigns to go after this deal runs out. The sky is the limit on his earning power for those seasons and beyond. Through 365 2/3 career innings to date, Buehler owns a 3.15 ERA with a 28.6% strikeout rate and 6.3% walk rate.