Dodgers Sign Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager & 3 Others; Face Arbitration Hearings With Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, Chris Taylor & Pedro Baez

The Los Angeles Dodgers avoided arbitration with Cody Bellinger, Kiké Hernandez, Corey Seager, Ross Stripling and Julio Urias ahead of Friday’s deadline to exchange salary figures.

Notable omissions from the group are Pedro Baez, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor, all of whom appear poised to head to have an arbitration hearing. The Dodgers historically have a file-and-trial stance, but conceivably could continue negotiating with the quartet prior to reaching a hearing in February.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has avoided arbitration thus far in his tenure with the team. The Dodgers’ last hearing was with Joe Beimel in 2007.

At the time of tendering contracts to the arbitration-eligible players last December, L.A. also agreed to one-year deals with Scott Alexander and Austin Barnes. Yimi Garcia was the only player the Dodgers non-tendered, and he went on to sign with the Miami Marlins.

The Dodgers did not release details of the contracts that were signed, but Stripling reportedly agreed to a $2.1 million salary, and Urias is said to have received $1 million.

Hernandez reportedly signed for $5.9 million, Seager for $7.6 million, and Bellinger broke Kris Bryant’s MLB record for a first-year arbitration player at an $11.5 million salary.

Baez, Hernandez and Pederson went through their final year of salary arbitration and are due to become free agents after the 2020 season. In addition to Bellinger, Alexander, Barnes, Muncy, Stripling and Urias were arbitration-eligible for the first time.

Baez put together one of his best seasons and finished the year 7-2 with a 3.10 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 0.95 WHIP, and 69 strikeouts against 23 walks in 69.2 innings pitched. His emergence helped mitigate the ongoing struggles Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen each had over various stretches.

Bellinger bounced back from 2018 by getting off to a historic start last season and it propelled him to a National League MVP Award. Bellinger additionally collected a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Award. He became the first player in Dodgers franchise history to win all three in the same season.

Hernandez won a Spring Training competition for the starting job at second base, but by the end of the season it was another year that saw him moved all over the field.

Muncy proved his breakout rookie season wasn’t a fluke as he largely matched that level of production in 2019. His season was interrupted by a right wrist fracture suffered late in August, but he returned with more than enough time for the postseason.

Pederson again was productive for the Dodgers when hitting atop the order. Pederson broke his own franchise record last season with nine leadoff home runs.

Seager endured an up-and-down campaign that in some part was to be expected as he worked to overcome Tommy John and hip surgeries. There were moments when the two-time Silver Slugger looked healthy and a formidable player at the plate, but he dealt with multiple hamstring injuries.

Stripling saw time as a starter and pitched out of the bullpen, and is expected to compete for the final spot in the Opening Day rotation.

Taylor had a rather nondescript season but one in which he improved every piece of his batting line from 2018 before and lowered his strikeout rate despite receiving nearly 200 fewer plate appearances.

Urias dealt with personal trouble that led to a suspension for violating MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. Urias expressed remorse over the decision and was part of the Dodgers’ active roster for the NL Division Series. He’s projected to be one of the club’s five starters this season.

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