NEW YORK (AP)Juan Soto, Pete Alonso and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reached big-money agreements on one-year contracts as 170 players avoided salary arbitration with deals Friday and 33 exchanged proposed figures with their teams.
All-Star pitcher Max Fried and the Atlanta Braves were headed toward a hearing for the second straight year, while Toronto shortstop Bo Bichette and Houston outfielder Kyle Tucker were the farthest apart from their clubs, each asking for $7.5 million while their team offered $5 million.
Seattle outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, acquired in a trade from the Blue Jays, requested $16 million and was offered $14 million.
AL batting champion Luis Arraez was the only eligible Minnesota player who didn’t settle, asking for $6.1 million while the Twins offered $5 million. NL batting champion Jeff McNeil was the lone New York Mets player on track for a hearing, asking for $7.75 million while the team proposed $6.25 million.
Fried was awarded $6.85 million last year rather than Atlanta’s $6.6 million offer. This time, he asked for $15 million as the Braves offered $13.5 million.
Seven Tampa Bay players were headed toward hearings, including reliever Colin Poche. He asked for $1.3 million and was offered $1,175,000 in the smallest gap.
Three players each from Seattle and the Los Angeles Angels were on track for hearings.
Soto got a $23 million deal with San Diego, tied for the fourth-highest one-year contract among arbitration-eligible players. Shohei Ohtani set the record when the two-way star agreed last fall to a $30 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels.
Soto also trailed Mookie Betts ($27 million with Boston in 2020) and Nolan Arenado ($26 million with Colorado in 2019), and he matched Josh Donaldson’s $23 million with Toronto in 2018. Soto, who turned down a $440 million, 15-year offer from Washington last summer before he was traded to the Padres, can become a free agent following the 2024 World Series.
In addition to its deal with the star outfielder, San Diego also reached a $14.1 million, one-year agreement with Josh Hader, the largest salary for an arbitration-eligible relief pitcher.
The high-spending Mets struck a $14.5 million agreement with Alonso, who hit 40 homers and tied for the major league lead with 131 RBIs last season. The first baseman nearly doubled his $7.4 million salary.
Guerrero, runner-up in 2021 AL MVP voting, agreed to the same figure with Toronto, the first baseman increasing his salary from $7.9 million.
Left-hander Julio Urias settled with the Los Angeles Dodgers at $14.25 million, first baseman Rhys Hoskins with NL champion Philadelphia at $12 million, outfielder Ian Happ with the Chicago Cubs at $10.85 million and right-hander Brandon Woodruff with Milwaukee at $10.8 million.
Right-hander Lucas Giolito agreed with the Chicago White Sox at $10.4 million, two-time All-Star right-hander Shane Bieber with Cleveland at $10.01 million, left-hander Jordan Montgomery with St. Louis at $10 million and right-hander Walker Buehler with the Los Angeles Dodgers at $8,025,000.
Minnesota right-hander Chris Paddack, recovering from Tommy John surgery in May, was the only player agreeing to a multiyear contract. He struck a $12.5 million, three-year deal, a person familiar with the negotiations said, speaking on condition of anonymity because it was subject to a successful physical. Paddack gets $2.5 million in each of the next two seasons and $7.5 million in 2025.
For players and teams who fail to strike deals, arguments before three-person panels will be scheduled for Jan. 30 to Feb. 17 in St. Petersburg, Florida. They will be the first in-person hearings since 2020, just before the pandemic.
Teams have won the majority of decisions for three straight years and lead players 334-251 since salary arbitration started in 1974.
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