One of the big new additions to the collective bargaining agreement signed between the league and the players was the implementation of a $50MM bonus pool set aside for players with less than three years of league service time.
The pool would be handed out to the top 100 eligible players, with MLB’s WAR metric determining which players made the list. Beyond that, further bonuses could be earned for qualified players if they ranked in the top two of Rookie of the Year, top five in MVP or Cy Young, as well as being named in the first or second All-MLB team.
According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease topped the class in 2022, taking home a bonus of $2,457,426, in addition to his $750K base salary. Cease threw 184 innings of 2.20 ERA ball for Chicago this year, finishing 2nd in AL Cy Young voting. That finish earned him $1.75MM in addition to the $707,425 he earned for his WAR ranking. 2022 was Cease’s last pre-arbitration season, so he won’t be eligible for the bonus pool after the 2023 season.
The Astros’ Yordan Alvarez was the top hitter on the list, as he took home a $2,381,143 bonus. Alvarez torched pitching to the tune of a .306/.406/.613 line with 37 home runs, finishing third in AL MVP voting. He picked up $881,143 as the top ranked player via the WAR metric, and an additional $1.5MM for his MVP finish. He also won’t be eligible for the pool next season.
Here’s the top ten bonus pool earners (all of these figures are in addition to the player’s base salary):
- Dylan Cease: $2,457,426
- Yordan Alvarez: $2,381,143
- Alek Manoah: $2,191,023
- Zac Gallen: $1,670,875
- Julio Rodriguez: $1,550,850
- Michael Harris: $1,361,435
- Emmanuel Clase: $1,354,962
- Andres Gimenez: $1,308,805
- Adley Rutschman: $1,177,555
- Kyle Tucker: $1,146,555
Per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, Atlanta’s Spencer Strider was the only other player to earn a bonus greater than $1MM, while four more players (Sean Murphy, Tommy Edman, Will Smith and Ryan Helsley) earned more than $700K, with another eleven players (Steven Kwan, Bo Bichette, Alejandro Kirk, Nestor Cortes, Logan Webb, Shane McClanahan, Cal Raleigh, Daulton Varsho, Nico Hoerner, Triston McKenzie and Tony Gonsolin) earned a bonus greater than $500K.
Each player’s team will pay out the bonuses by December 23, but they will be reimbursed by the Commissioner’s Office.