Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers avoided arbitration for the 2024 season with all of their eligible players, which included Will Smith for the second time in his career.
While the Dodgers came to terms with Smith and nine other arbitration-eligible players, none of them were signed to a multi-year contract. Meanwhile, Yency Almonte, who agreed to a deal in November, was traded along with Michael Busch to the Chicago Cubs.
As for Smith, he’s poised to receive an $8.55 million salary for the 2024 season. That’s shy of projections made by MLB Trade Rumors ($9.3 million) and Cot’s Baseball Contracts ($9 million) but an increase nevertheless over Smith’s 2023 salary of $5.25 million.
According to ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel, Smith’s contract set an MLB record as the richest ever for a second-year catcher :
C Will Smith and the Dodgers settled at $8.55 million to avoid arbitration, per source. It’s a record for a second-time-eligible catcher.
— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) January 12, 2024
Although not a direct comparison, Smith’s contract through arbitration bests the multi-year extension Sean Murphy signed with the Atlanta Braves in December 2022 by way of annual salary.
The Braves bought out all three of Murphy’s arbitration years plus three potential seasons of free agency with the six-year, $73 million contract. That amounted to Murphy receiving a $4 million salary for 2023, and he’ll earn $9 million this year.
The combined $13 million is just shy of the $13.8 million Smith is receiving by signing one-year contracts through arbitration thus far.
Will Smith’s MLB arbitration history
Smith first became eligible for salary arbitration heading into the 2023 season. He avoided a hearing with the Dodgers by agreeing to a one-year, $5.25 million contract.
Smith put together a first career All-Star season and with that came a nearly 63% raise. The 28-year-old is going to be eligible for salary arbitration again in 2025 and could then become a free agent after that season.
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