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MLB Notebook: Blue Jays and Dodgers predicted to meet in 2025 World Series, looking at the players headed to salary arbitration, and more

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Photo credit:Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Holden
3 months ago
Major League Baseball’s official social media decided to have some fun this week as it posted a prediction of the next ten World Series matchups. According to their crystal ball, the 2025 World Series could feature a battle against Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes winners and the runner-ups. 
However, this feels like a bit of a cop-out. First, it’s not like we can’t tell what the MLB is doing here, we all know it was down to the Dodgers and the Blue Jays in the race for Shohei Ohtani. From speculating Ohtani’s dog’s name to tracking Robert Herjavec’s plane, these two teams battled it out for the most highly coveted free agent in baseball history. But this also shows a pretty intriguing thought process from the league when it comes to the future of the Jays and the Dodgers.
The most glaring note about this post is the MLB predicts the 2024 World Series will feature the Atlanta Braves and the Baltimore Orioles; Meaning despite all the additions to the roster this off-season, the Los Angeles Dodgers will not make the World Series this season. Interestingly enough, Shohei Ohtani will not pitch in 2024 but will likely be ready to toss by 2025. Will Shohei’s arm in the Dodgers rotation be the one thing that can put them over the edge in 2025? Plus, will the Dodgers add even more pieces next off-season too? Players like Juan Soto, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Eloy Jiménez, Gerrit Cole, Corbin Burnes, Max Fried, Shane Bieber, and so many more will be free agents (barring club options and extensions). Could the Dodgers continue their spending spree next winter?
On the flip side, the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2025 World Series is a curious prediction. The Jays have been basically the polar opposite of L.A. and have barely spent any money on a big-name free agent or acquisition. Isiah Kiner-Falefa has been the Jays’ only new signing this winter, plus they also brought back Kevin Kiermaier. Outside of those two moves, the Jays really have not done much, which begs the question, what does the MLB see in the Jays potential that most do not?
Players from within the organization will likely need to play a key role in 2025 if the Jays want to compete in the World Series. Both Davis Schneider and Spencer Horwitz made some pretty impressive impressions in their abbreviated season in the show this season, while the arrivals of Orelvis Martinez, Ricky Tiedeman, and Addison Barger are still highly anticipated. But are those young prospects what the MLB sees as the key to success for the Jays in 2025, or could it be the supposed willingness to try and make a splash in the free agent market next offseason?
It was no secret the Jays were more than willing to take a chance and invest in Shohei Ohtani this winter before ultimately losing out to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite losing out on Ohtani, the Jays have stuck around some of the bigger fish this offseason and are seemingly in the race for most top free agents. Since the Ohtani debacle, Toronto has been linked to Cody Bellinger, Jorge Soler, and J.D. Martinez a ton this offseason. Plus, with the upcoming free agent class, the Jays could be very active and add some very intriguing pieces by October 2025. 
Could the Jays and Dodgers face off in the 2025 World Series? Sure. But it seems one team would need to be quite creative to do so, while the other will be a perennial contender for the next decade. 

CALIFORNIA LAWMAKER ASKS CONGRESS TO INTERVENE IN OHTANI DEAL

Speaking of Shohei Ohtani, Malia M. Cohen, a California Controller, has requested Congress to change the tax code to cap deferred payments in lieu of the Ohtani contract and the Dodgers creative offseason strategy. Currently, if Ohtani were to return to Japan or sign with a different team at the end of his contract, he would not be liable to pay California’s 13.3% income tax and 1.1% payroll tax for State Disability Insurance, ultimately saving him $98 million in state income taxes. 
However, Ohtani is not the only Dodger to install deferrals into his contract. Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Teoscar Hernandez have all elected for a deferral-type payment in their contracts. Betts deferred $150 million of his contract to be paid between 2033 and 2044, Freeman has deferred $57 million to be paid between 2028 and 2040, and Hernandez will be paid $8.5 million between 2030 and 2039. 
The Dodgers seem to be the first team to enact this strategy during an MLB offseason, but deferrals in baseball are not new at all. Famously, Bobby Bonilla deferred two of his contracts. One with the Mets, which will be paid until 2030, and one with the Baltimore Orioles, (which I do not think is talked about enough), until 2028.
Despite Cohen’s call for action, this does not seem to be a priority for Congress at the moment. CNBC suggests Congress is currently more focused on unrealized gains or investment growth rather than contract deferrals. Vice president of federal tax policy at the Tax Foundation, William McBride says coming down on deferred incomes would “put the state in a worse position in terms of its ability to collect revenue from these high earners and star athletes” because they would simply not sign with that state’s team.
Contract deferrals will presumably be discussed, in some form, in the future, but that will likely come from Major League Baseball itself, not the government. 

Aug 3, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres right fielder Juan Soto (22) bats during the fourth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

171 PLAYERS SIGN AHEAD OF ARBITRATION DEADLINE

The MLB arbitration deadline passed at 1 p.m. ET Thursday afternoon as 171 players agreed to terms with their team before the deadline. However, 23 players did not sign and will be going to arbitration hearings with their clubs.
Juan Soto headlined the arbitration-eligible players before the deadline, signing a one-year, $31 million contract with the New York Yankees, breaking the record for the largest one-year contract for an arbitration-eligible player, beating out Shohei’s $30 million deal last year. But the Yankees weren’t the only New York team to attract attention prior to the deadline; The Mets signed 1B Pete Alonso to a $20.5 million deal. Alonso was the only other player to sign a deal worth more than $20 million on Thursday.
Other notable agreements include:
Arizona Diamondbacks:
Zac Gallen – $10.5 million
Christian Walker – $10.9 million
Atlanta Braves:
Max Fried – $15 million
Baltimore Orioles:
Anthony Santander – $11.7 million
Boston Red Sox:
Nick Pivetta – $7.5 million
Chicago White Sox:
Dylan Cease – $8 million
Mike Soroka – $3 million
Cleveland Guardians:
Scott Barlow – $6.7 million
Shane Bieber – $13.125 million
Josh Naylor – $6.55 million
Colorado Rockies:
Cal Quantrill – $6.55 million
Brendan Rodgers – $3.2 million
Detroit Tigers:
Tarik Skubal – $2.65 million
Houston Astros:
Luis García – $1.875 million
Kyle Tucker – $12 million
José Urquidy – $3.75 million
Framber Valdez – $12.1 million
Kansas City Royals:
Brady Singer – $4.85 million
Los Angeles Angels:
Griffin Canning – $2.6 million
Luis Rengifo – $4.4 million
Patrick Sandoval – $5.025 million
Los Angeles Dodgers:
Walker Buehler – $8.025 million
Caleb Ferguson – $2.4 million
Gavin Lux – $1.225 million
Brusdar Graterol – $2.7 million
Dustin May – $2.135 million
Evan Phillips – $4 million
Will Smith – $8.55 million
Ryan Yarbrough: $3.09 million
Miami Marlins:
Jesús Luzardo – $5.5 million
Jesús Sánchez – $2.1 million
Milwaukee Brewers:
Willy Adames – $12.25 million
Corbin Burnes – $15.6375 million
Minnesota Twins:
Kyle Farmer – $6.3 million
New York Mets: 
Pete Alonso – $20.5 million
Adrian Houser – $5.05 million
New York Yankees:
Nestor Cortes – $3.95 million
Trent Grisham – $5.5 million
Clay Holmes – $6 million
Juan Soto – $31 million
Gleyber Torres – $14.2 million
Alex Verdugo – $8.7 million
Oakland Athletics:
Paul Blackburn – $3.45 million
Seth Brown – $2.6 million
Philadelphia Phillies:
Gregory Soto – $5 million
Ranger Suárez – $5.05 million
Pittsburgh Pirates:
David Bednar – $4.51 million
JT Brubaker – $2.275 million
Mitch Keller – $5.442 million
San Diego Padres:
Kyle Higashioka – $2.18 million
Michael King – $3.15 million
San Francisco Giants:
Thairo Estrada – $4.7 million
LaMonte Wade Jr. – $3.5 million
Seattle Mariners:
Ty France – $6.775 million
Logan Gilbert – $4.05 million
Josh Rojas – $3.1 million
Trent Thornton – $1.2 million
Luis Urías – $5 million
St. Louis Cardinals:
Dylan Carlson – $2.35 million
Ryan Helsley – $3.8 million
Andrew Kittredge – $2.63 million
Tampa Bay Rays:
Randy Arozarena – $8.1 million
Aaron Civale – $4.9 million
Zack Littell – $1.85 million
Shane McClanahan – $7.2 million (2-Year)
Isaac Paredes – $3.4 million
Texas Rangers:
Dane Dunning – $3.325 million
Jonah Heim – $3.05 million
Nathaniel Lowe – $7.5 million
Leody Taveras – $2.55 million
Toronto Blue Jays:
Cavan Biggio – $4.21 million
Santiago Espinal – $2.725 million
Alejandro Kirk – $2.8 million
Danny Jansen – $5.2 million
Tim Mayza – $3.59 million
Jordan Romano – $7.75 million
Erik Swanson – $2.75 million
Daulton Varsho – $5.65 million
Washington Nationals:
Kyle Finnegan – $5.1 million
Lane Thomas – $5.45 million
Most notably of those 23 players who failed to reach an agreement, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Alec Bohm, Luis Arreaz, Jazz Chisholm Jr., and Adolis Garcia will all be heading to arbitration hearings. Brewers RHP Devin Williams initially did not agree to terms with the club but did later sign a one-year, $7 million deal, including a club option in 2025, later that night, avoiding arbitration. 
Here is the full list of players who did not sign and are heading to arbitration:
Jason Adam (TB)
Luis Arraez (MIA)
Phil Bickford (NYM)
Alec Bohm (PHI)
Jazz Chisholm Jr. (MIA)
Danny Coulombe (BAL)
J.D. Davis (SF)
Mauricio Dubon (HOU)
Tommy Edman (STL)
Adolis Garcia (TEX)
Nick Gordon (MIN)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR)
Austin Hays (BAL)
Jonathan India (CIN)
Casey Mize (DET)
Ryan O’Hearn (BAL)
Cionel Perez (HOU)
Harold Ramirez (TB)
Tanner Scott (MIA) 
Jose Suarez (LAA)
Taylor Ward (LAA)
Jacob Webb (BAL)
Despite signing with their clubs, players like Pete Alonso could still be on the move this offseason. Alonso will hit free agency next winter and has been subject to numerous trade rumours over the past year. Plus, Randy Arozarena has also seen his name in some trade rumours lately, including a very ominous post with Shohei Ohtani, igniting rumours of him joining Tyler Glasnow in the trade to the Dodgers. However, it was Manuel Margot included in the deal, leaving Arozarena in Tampa.
Miami has also reportedly been open to trading Luis Arreaz, despite being one of the most consistent hitters in baseball last season. Jonathan India has also been in the middle of trade talks. The Cincinnati Reds have a packed, young infield, and India could be the odd man out.

Quick Notes:

  • Shōta Imanaga signs with the Chicago Cubs. Imanaga and the Cubs agree to a four-year, $53 million contract.
  • Jordan Hicks signs with the San Francisco Giants. Hicks agrees to a four-year, $44 million deal, and will likely join the rotation rather than come out of the bullpen for San Francisco.
  • Wander Franco likely to be barred from entering the U.S.. Despite being free to leave the Dominican Republic, Franco’s American visa may be revoked as he could be considered a threat to public safety.
  • Cubs acquire Michael Busch & Yency Almonte from Dodgers. Dodgers will receive Cubs No. 8 prospect LHP Jackson Ferris and OF prospect Zyhir Hope.

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