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Thursday marked the arbitration deadline in Major League Baseball, meaning it's a big day for the front offices, arbitration-eligible players and fans who track such matters, because it is the final day that teams and arbitration-eligible players exchange salary figures for the 2024 season. 

Players with between three and six years of MLB service time have their salaries decided in part by arbitration. In addition, there a select group of players with two-plus years of service time -- known as Super Twos -- who also join the party. 

Basically, salaries are decided via negotiations between teams and players, but if the two sides can't reach an agreement, it'll be sent to a third-party arbitrator to decide which side "wins." There's no compromise if it gets to that point: either the player gets his number or the team gets theirs. Neither side wants to end up on the losing end, which means this process spurs back-and-forth negotiation and usually the sides end up agreeing to terms and avoiding arbitration. 

Here's a roundup of the most notable arbitration news from around the league.

Soto sets arbitration record

Juan Soto has broken Shohei Ohtani's salary record for an arbitration-eligible player. The New York Post reports the Yankees and Soto have agreed to a $31.5 million salary for 2024, topping Ohtani's $30 million salary from last season. Here are the largest ever arbitration salaries:

  1. Juan Soto, 2024 Yankees: $31.5 million
  2. Shohei Ohtani, 2023 Angels: $30 million
  3. Mookie Betts, 2020 Dodgers: $27 million
  4. Nolan Arenado, 2019 Rockies: $26 million

Soto qualified as a Super Two, meaning he is at a service time level that allowed him to go through arbitration four times instead of the usual three. The extra year of arbitration combined with his historic early career performance pushed Soto's 2024 salary into record territory. It seems very unlikely the Yankees will be able to lock Soto up to a long-term contract anytime before Opening Day. Instead, they'll likely have to win a free agent bidding war next offseason to retain him.

Mets, Alonso agree at $20.5 million

The Mets and franchise first baseman Pete Alonso have agreed to a $20.5 million contract for 2024 (per ESPN). That covers Alonso's final season of team control, and he will become a free agent next winter. Very few players get to the $20 million salary level through arbitration, though Alonso ranks fourth among all players in home runs since making his debut in 2019, which helped boost his salary. Alonso is a Scott Boras client and Boras prefers to take his top clients out into free agency. It's unclear whether Alonso and the Mets will seriously discuss an extension before he hits the open market.

Brewers, Burnes settle at $15.6 million

There will be no arbitration hearing between the Brewers and Corbin Burnes this year. The two sides have agreed to a $15.6 million contract for the coming season (via the New York Post). They went to a hearing over $750,000 last offseason and afterward Burnes admitted it damaged their relationship. The 2021 NL Cy Young winner will be a free agent next offseason and he has been mentioned in trade rumors all winter, though Milwaukee seems inclined to keep him to begin the season as it prepares to defend its NL Central title.

Braves, Fried agree at $15 million

The Braves and ace lefty Max Fried avoided arbitration and agreed at a $15 million salary for the 2024 season (via FanSided's Robert Murray). This is notable because it's a touch higher than expected (baseball-reference.com estimated he'd end up around $14.4 million, for example) and avoids any contentious negotiations between the two sides. Fried is a free agent after this coming season. The Braves' rotation has a bunch of question marks -- aside from Spencer Strider -- moving forward. While most people believe Fried is as good as gone after the season, perhaps this agreement provides a ray of hope for Braves fans. 

Guardians, Bieber agree at $13.125 million

Even if we should stop short of using the word rebuilding, the Guardians are at least looking to reload and Bieber is set to hit free agency after this season. The dollar figure here (via Murray) matters most because now any potential trade partners with the Guardians will know exactly how much Bieber will cost this season. 

White Sox, Cease agree at $8 million

From the start of the offseason, starting pitcher Dylan Cease has been a hot name on the trading block. The White Sox are clearly moving into a rebuild and possibly even one that takes years. Cease is under team control through 2025, but an extended rebuild means he won't be around when the Sox are ready to contend again. As noted with Bieber, the cost certainty makes any potential trade a little less complicated. Teams know exactly what Cease will make in 2024 and that is $8 million (per Murray). 

Shane McClanahan gets two years

The 26-year-old left-hander and the Rays avoided arbitration with a two-year, $7.2 million contract (per Murray). His 2025 salary will increase $120,000 for every start he makes in 2024. McClanahan had Tommy John surgery last August and is expected to miss just about the entire 2024 season, if not all of it. The two-year deal covers his rehab year and also what should be his first healthy year back on the mound. McClanahan can not become a free agent until after the 2027 season. 

Other notables

No deal by deadline

The following players were unable to come to an agreement with their current team. As things stand, they are headed for an arbitration hearing, though it's always possible they'll agree to terms before said hearing.