A few weeks ago the Dodgers avoided arbitration with almost all of their 10 eligible players, with the notable exception of All-Star starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin. The team had filed at $3 million and he had filed at $3.4 million, which seemed like a silly amount to haggle over considering his projected number was around $3.5 million.
Fortunately, he and the Dodgers came up with a way to avoid any headaches for this and next year, as Gonsolin has agreed to a two-year deal worth $6.65 million. The deal includes a lot of incentives for starts made and Cy Young Award placing.
This is essentially Gonsolin betting on his own health in 2023, which has really been the only thing holding him back so far in his career. In 272.2 innings, he’s posted an ERA of just 2.51, but he also posted a career-high innings total of 130.1 last year. He ran into shoulder issues in 2021 and had forearm/elbow issues in 2022, but a full season’s worth of starts will now deliver at least $3 million in bonuses. Additionally, avoiding any arbitration headaches is nice, and knowing you have millions banked surely provides peace of mind.
That said, it’s an extremely good deal for the Dodgers barring something unlikely, such as an injury that causes Gonsolin to miss multiple years. If Tony stays healthy and pitches well in 2023, he probably would’ve made more in arbitration than the bonuses give him. If he stays healthy and is mediocre next year, then he probably doesn’t end up making enough starts for all the bonuses and gets a modest raise he would’ve anyway. If Gonsolin gets injured, then he likely gets a minimal raise or none at all, also similar to what he would’ve anyway in arbitration. So basically, unless something horrible happens that would’ve put Gonsolin in non-tender territory, the Dodgers have done well to secure a rotation member for the next two seasons, especially as Julio Urias‘ free agency looms.