Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson set salary records for arbitration-eligible players

Kris Bryant set a new salary record for first-year arbitration-eligible players. (AP)

Friday was the deadline for Major League Baseball teams to come to salary settlements with their arbitration-eligible players. Put another way: It’s the day a lot of young MLB players got BIG raises.

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If teams and their players didn’t agree to a salary for the 2018 season, then the case will now move to an arbitrator to decide. In most instances, the two sides like to come to an agreement before it gets that far. So we saw plenty of settlements Friday and a couple of them were record-setting.

Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant hit arbitration for the first time and his agreed-upon 2018 salary of $10.85 million, per MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat, is a record for first-time arbitration-eligible players.


The previous record belonged to Ryan Howard, who got a $10 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008. Both players had MVP and Rookie of the Year awards by the time they reached arbitration. In most cases, MLB players are eligible for salary arbitration after three years of service time. After six years, in most cases, they become free agents.

On the other end of that spectrum is Josh Donaldson, who is in his final year of arbitration and will be a free agent next winter. Donaldson, another former MVP, agreed to a $23 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, which is the highest arbitration deal of all time. It tops Bryce Harper’s $21.625 deal with the Washington Nationals, which is also for the 2018 season but was finalized last spring.

Some of the other notable arbitration settlements Friday included Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel, Jose Abreu, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Blackmon and Anthony Rendon. Here are some figures:










A smaller number of players didn’t settle with their teams and will now head to salary arbitration. Most notably among them: Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!