Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
While the Los Angeles Dodgers have seemingly operated with an intention to remain below the $233 million luxury tax threshold for 2023, part of their calculus needed to be forecasting salaries for the likes of Walker Buehler, Will Smith, Julio Urías and several others who are eligible for arbitration.
When Buehler previously went through the arbitration process ahead of the 2021 season, he and the Dodgers were unable to come to terms before the deadline. Buehler filed for a $4.15 million and the Dodgers countered at $3.3 million.
According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Buehler and the Dodgers avoided arbitration by agreeing to an $8.025 million salary for 2023:
The Dodgers and Walker Buehler have agreed to a $8.025 million deal for 2023 to avoid arbitration, per source.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 13, 2023
MLB Trade Rumors projected Buehler to earn an $8.1 million salary for the 2023 season, the second-highest among Dodgers who are eligible for arbitration.
The right-hander is coming off a season that ended due to needing a second Tommy John surgery. Initially placed on the 15-day injured list with a right forearm strain, Buehler first underwent an operation to remove bone spurs from his right elbow.
That was not expected to impact his prolonged recovery from the forearm issue, but it wound up being a moot point when Buehler had Tommy John and a right flexor tendon repair.
Struggling to generate much consistency last season, Buehler went just 6-3 with a 4.02 ERA and 1.29 WHIP across 12 starts. His strikeout rate was noticeably down, but Buehler finished with six in his final outing of 2022, tying for third-most in any start last year.
Will Walker Buehler pitch in 2023?
Although it does not appear probable, Buehler and the Dodgers have not formally ruled out the possibility he returns from Tommy John this season.
If Buehler manages to to pitch for the Dodgers this year, it likely would not come until late in the season and in more of an opener or relief role than traditional starter.
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