Dodgers Dugout: Who will return to the team in 2024?

Mookie Betts runs along the base line.
Mookie Betts
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
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Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell. Does it make the Dodgers look better that Arizona is going to the World Series?

Before we officially go into hibernation for the offseason, let’s take a look at the contract status of the players on this season’s team.

Who is a free agent? Who is still under contract? Who is eligible for arbitration? Who is without a contract but sill under team control?

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Still under contract

Austin Barnes (final year of a two-year, $7-million deal)
Mookie Betts (fourth year of a 12-year $365-million deal)
Freddie Freeman (third year of a six-year, $162-million deal)
Tony Gonsolin (final year of a two-year, $6.65 million deal)
Miguel Rojas (final year of a two-year, $11-million deal)
Chris Taylor (third year of a four-year, $60-million deal)

Free agents

Ryan Brasier
Kiké Hernández
Jason Heyward
Clayton Kershaw
Jake Marisnick
J.D. Martinez
Shelby Miller
David Peralta
Amed Rosario
Julio Urías
Kolten Wong

The only person on the list I would bet on coming back is Kiké Hernández. Clayton Kershaw faces his yearly decision on whether to come back to the Dodgers, sign with Texas, or retire. Heyward could also come back, unless some other team offers him a big contract that the Dodgers don’t want to match. If the Dodgers sign Shohei Ohtani, they won’t need J.D. Martinez. Plus, consider the odds some other team offers Martinez a big deal after the solid season he had. The Dodgers usually look at most of their bullpen as a dime a dozen, hurting the chances of Ryan Brasier and Shelby Miller returning, since they will be paid more money than this season. Amed Rosario didn’t even make the postseason roster. David Peralta had a terrible second half and had offseason elbow surgery.

Player or team option

Daniel Hudson ($6.5 million team option)
Joe Kelly ($1 million buyout or $9.5 million team option)
Lance Lynn ($1 million buyout or $18 million team option)
Max Muncy ($10 million team option)
Alex Reyes ($3 million team option)
Blake Treinen ($1 million to $7 million team option depending on injuries)

Max Muncy is coming back. Joe Kelly is not coming back at that price. Lance Lynn is not coming back. The others depend on their injuries. Remember, the Dodgers can decline a team option and bring the player back at a lower price if the two sides agree,

Eligible for arbitration

Yency Almonte (made $1.5 million last season)
Walker Buehler ($8.03 million)
Caleb Ferguson ($1.1 million)
Brusdar Graterol ($1.23 million)
Dustin May ($1.68 million)
Evan Phillips ($1.3 million)
Will Smith ($5.25 million)
Alex Vesia ($750,000)
Ryan Yarbrough ($3 million)

A player eligible for arbitration has played more than three but less than six seasons in the majors (there are a handful of exceptions, but that doesn’t impact the Dodgers this season). A player eligible for salary arbitration has to file by a date usually in the middle of January. The player and team will exchange salary offers and a hearing is scheduled in February. The team and player can reach an agreement before then. If not, an arbitration panel will pick either the salary the player requests or the salary the team requests. Most of the time, the two sides settle. The team can also decide that they don’t want the player back at all, making them a free agent.

Pre-arbitration bonus pool

Those who are not yet in arbitration receive $2.5 million for winning the MVP or Cy Young awards; $1.75 million for second place in either and $1.5 million for finishing third; $1 million for fourth- or fifth-place finishes or first-team All-MLB honors; $750,000 for first place in Rookie of the Year voting; and $500,000 for second place in Rookie of the Year and second-team All-MLB.


Once those awards are handed out, the remainder of the pool (which totals $50 million), is split among the 100 players in the group with the highest WAR. This means a little extra money for people such as James Outman, who made the major league minimum but was worth more than that.

Under team control for next season

These are players not eligible for arbitration who basically have to accept whatever contract they are sent (the minimum salary next season is $740,000). They can also be released.

Tyler Cyr
Victor González
Michael Grove
Gavin Lux
Jimmy Nelson
James Outman
Ryan Pepiot
Miguel Vargas

Ask Steve Sax

A couple of times a year we do a feature where readers of this newsletter send in questions for Dodgers of the past. We’ve done “Ask Orel Hershiser”, “Ask Jerry Reuss”, “Ask Tom Niedenfuer”, “Ask Peter O’Malley”, “Ask Fred Claire” and “Ask Maury Wills” among others.

Steve Sax, who was named National League rookie of the year in 1982 and won two World Series while playing second base for the Dodgers from 1981-88, is the next name to join the list.

Sax has agreed to answer selected questions from Dodgers Dugout readers. So, start thinking and send them to me at The best and most-frequently asked questions will be chosen for Sax to answer in a future newsletter. You have until 11 p.m. Saturday to send a question. Please put “Ask Steve Sax” in the subject line of your email.

Sax is planning a golf tournament at Tierra Rejada Golf Course in Moorpark and a luncheon at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley on Nov. 5 to raise funds for the Captain John J. Sax Foundation. The foundation will help support others whose purpose is to offer scholarships and grants of hardship cases to aspiring aviators.

John Sax, who was with the Marines, died in a V-22 Osprey training accident on June 8, 2022.


Speakers at the luncheon will include Sax, Congressman Mike Garcia, former Dodger and California senatorial candidate Steve Garvey and Lt. Col. John Miller, who was John Sax’s commanding officer.

For more information and to enter the golf tournament, go to

In case you missed it

Hernández: It’s time for Mark Walter to show he really is the Dodgers’ controlling owner

Shaikin: Trevor Bauer wants back in the majors. Will any team even consider signing him?

And finally

Today is the fifth anniversary of Max Muncy’s walk-off homer in the 18th inning of Game 3 of the 2018 World Series, so here it is. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.