Arbitrators ruled in favor of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in his hearing versus the Blue Jays, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (X link). The slugging first baseman will be paid at the $19.9MM rate sought by his camp at PRIME. The team had submitted an $18.05MM filing figure.
Guerrero’s arbitration case was the most significant of any this offseason. Of the players who went to a hearing, he’s in line for easily the highest salary. The $1.85MM gap between his filing figure and the team’s proposed rate was the second-largest of the offseason; there’s a $1.9MM spread between the Rangers’ and Adolis García’s submissions.
This is the third of four trips through the process for the three-time All-Star. Guerrero racked up huge earnings early in the process. That’s partially because he qualified for early arbitration as a Super Two player during the 2021-22 offseason. It’s also a reflection of the monster numbers he posted early in his career, particularly during the ’21 campaign. Guerrero’s MVP runner-up season led to a hefty $7.9MM agreement for 2022. He and the Jays settled on a $14.5MM deal last winter but couldn’t find a mutually agreeable price point this time around.
That nevertheless works out well for Guerrero, who secures a $5.4MM raise relative to last season. While he’s coming off a good year, his production wasn’t what he or the team envisioned from one of the sport’s most talented offensive players. Guerrero hit 26 homers and 30 doubles with a .264/.345/.444 batting line over 682 plate appearances.
Toronto’s projected payroll sits in the $240MM range, as calculated by Roster Resource. They’ll go through the arbitration process with Guerrero once again next offseason. Winning his case this year establishes the platform for next winter’s discussions higher — a player’s previous salaries is a key factor in setting arbitration prices — and he’ll hit free agency in advance of his age-27 season.
Guerrero was the only Toronto player going to a hearing this winter. Players around the league have been victorious in six consecutive hearings after teams won the first two. There are 10 cases still pending.