On Monday afternoon, Today’s Knuckleball and FanRag Sports writer Jon Heyman reported on Twitter that the Dodgers had renewed the pre-arbitration contracts of 2016 National League Rookie of the Year shortstop Corey Seager and 2015 All-Star center fielder Joc Pederson to the tune of $575,000 and $555,000 respectively.
To be fair, this isn’t exactly earth-shattering news, as it is quite common for teams to give their premier pre-arbitration-eligible players more than the MLB minimum, which currently sits at $535,000 for the 2017 season. Ironically but certainly not coincidentally, the MLB minimum in 2018 will be $545,000 and $555,000 in 2019.
The obvious advantage to getting this stuff done before the regular season begins is that it shows these young players that the team has confidence in them and eliminates any uncertainty with Opening Day now less than three weeks away.
Pederson becomes arbitration-eligible in 2018 and will become a free agent in 2021 at age 29, and Seager arbitration-eligible in 2019 and a free agent in 2022 at age 28. That said, chances are very good that both will receive lengthy (and lucrative) contract extensions during their arbitration-eligible seasons that will more than likely take them both well into free agency.
…at least that would be the wise thing for the Dodgers to do.