Los Angeles arguably now has the deepest rotation in Major League Baseball. The Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer, David Price, and Julio Urías all under contract for the 2021 season. That doesn’t even include Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, or the eventual arrival of Josiah Gray. No I haven’t forgotten Walker Buehler, as he was the only pitcher in the rotation that was yet to have settled on a price tag for the upcoming season. That was until now.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Dodgers and Buehler have agreed to a two-year contract worth a total of $8 million. The deal is also said to have incentives of $5ooK each time he passes 14, 16, 18, 20, 24, 28, and so on for games started. Buehler can also earn an additional $1.125 million if he wins the CY Young Award in 2021, which he has a good shot of doing, or $625K if he finishes second or third.
Buehler’s deal also includes escalators. His base salary in 2022 will increase by $500K at each of the following thresholds – 14 games started, 16, 18, 20, 24, 28. It also would increase by $1.125M if he wins the Cy Young Award or $625K if he finishes second or third. https://t.co/fALJVJuVjv
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 11, 2021
Paying a pitcher of his caliber around only $8 million for the next two seasons is an absolute steal. While it may seem like the Dodgers are short changing him, they may be doing so to limit their payroll for the next couple of seasons since they will already be paying Trevor Bauer $40 million this season and $45 the following season. Los Angeles does have some expiring contracts at the end of this season, but they will need every penny in order to retain guys like Clayton Kershaw and Corey Seager.
This was Buehler’s first time through arbitration, but will be eligible for it again in 2023 and 2024 before hitting free agency, that’s if the Dodgers even let him reach that point. Dodger fans have voiced that the organization needs to lock down one of the top pitchers in the game, and rest assured they will in due time. The biggest reason they haven’t done so is due to their inflated payroll which is over the luxury tax this season by $28 million.
Could Walker Buehler be on his way to becoming an all-time #Postseason great?
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) October 24, 2020
Through 70 career games for Los Angeles, Buehler has posted a 24-9 record with a 3.15 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 420 strikeouts. The 26-year old pitcher is only just getting started with his career, but he’s already made it known that he won’t back down from even the biggest stage. In 11 career postseason starts, he’s compiled a 3-1 record with a 2.35 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 83 strikeouts. Just this past season he dominated every team that was in his path en route to winning the 2020 World Series. Buehler is the type of talent you just can’t let go of, and the Dodgers definitely know that.