As the new year approaches, teams and arbitration-eligible players — five of them, in the Phillies‘ case — have two more weeks to agree to a contract for the 2024 season. If they don’t, both sides submit a salary figure for the upcoming season and a hearing is scheduled between January 29 and February 16.
A deal can still be worked out in the interim, but if no agreement is reached by the time of the hearing, a panel of arbitrators listens to each side’s case and then selects one of the two figures as the player’s salary for the upcoming season.
The Phillies began the offseason with eight arbitration-eligible players. They agreed to one-year deals with three of them — Jake Cave, Dylan Covey and Garrett Stubbs — on November 17, which was the deadline for teams to decide whether or not to tender contracts to players on their 40-man roster who haven’t yet earned enough MLB service time to reach free agency.
Cave ($1M), Covey and Stubbs ($850,000) each agreed to one-year deals. The Phils’ five remaining arbitration-eligible players are Jeff Hoffman, Ranger Suarez, Alec Bohm, Gregory Soto and Edmundo Sosa.
The only one going through the process for the final time is Hoffman, a key figure in the Phillies’ bullpen in 2023. It will be arbitration year 2 of 3 for Suarez and Soto and the first time for Bohm and Sosa.
Salaries through the arbitration process are primarily based on comparable players who have signed contracts in recent seasons. MLBTradeRumors’ Matt Swartz has used an algorithm to project arbitration salaries for the last 13 years and it’s proven to be extremely accurate. Here is what it projects for the five Phillies, with their 2023 salary in parentheses:
Hoffman: $2.1 million ($1.3M)
Suarez: $4.7 million ($2.95M)
Soto: $4.9 million ($3.925M)
Sosa: $1.7 million ($950K)
Bohm: $4.3 million ($748K)
Teams often find common ground with their players the week leading up to the exchange of figures to avoid going to arbitration. The Phillies did so with Rhys Hoskins, Suarez, Soto and Sosa on January 13, 2023, hours before the deadline to exchange figures.
They did not reach agreements on that day with their two other eligible players, Jose Alvarado and Seranthony Dominguez, but signed Alvarado to a three-year extension and Dominguez to a two-year extension the next month. Similarly, they could look to extend Suarez over the next two…