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As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, MLB and the MLB Players Association agreed to a $50 million bonus pool for pre-arbitration-eligible players. Those are players who begin the season with less than three years of service time who make the league minimum or close to it. The bonus pool gives the top performers additional pay.

Specifically, bonuses are awarded to pre-arbitration players based on awards voting and a joint WAR metric. There are several public versions of WAR (Baseball Reference, Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, etc.), each with different inputs, and MLB's joint WAR relies on several rather versions rather than one. The top 100 pre-arbitration players in joint WAR receive bonuses.

Here's are the awards-based bonuses:

1st place2nd place3rd place4th and 5th place

MVP and Cy Young

$2.5 million

$1.75 million

$1.5 million

$1 million each

Rookie of the Year





All-MLB Team

$1 million




Players can only received one awards-based bonus a season, so, for example, Mariners wunderkind Julio Rodríguez received $750,000 for being named AL Rookie of the Year, but not $500,000 for being second team All-MLB.

As for joint WAR, the player's bonus is based on his contribution to the total joint WAR of the top 100 pre-arbitration players. If the total pool is 100 WAR and you contributed 2 WAR, you get 2 percent of the bonus pool. Pretty straightforward. Here are the 11 players to receive a seven a seven-figure bonus, according to MLB.com:

  1. Dylan Cease, White Sox: $2,457,426
  2. Yordan Alvarez, Astros: $2,381,143
  3. Alek Manoah, Blue Jays: $2,191,023
  4. Zac Gallen, Diamondbacks: $1,670,875
  5. Julio Rodríguez, Mariners: $1,550,850
  6. Michael Harris II, Braves: $1,361,435
  7. Emmanuel Clase, Guardians: $1,354,962
  8. Andrés Giménez, Guardians: $1,308,805
  9. Adley Rutschman, Orioles: $1,177,555
  10. Kyle Tucker, Astros: $1,146,555
  11. Spencer Strider, Braves: $1,077,294

Cease's $2,457,426 bonus is broken down to $1.75 million for being the AL Cy Young runner-up to Justin Verlander, plus another $707,426 for joint WAR. Alvarez received $1.5 million for finishing third in the AL MVP voting, then another $881,143 for joint WAR. These bonuses are all on top of each player's salary, which was at or near the $700,000 league minimum in 2022.

Here's more on the bonuses, via MLB.com:

The 11 players who earned more than $1 million from the $50 million pool received bonuses for placing in year-end awards, as did two others (Will Smith, Ryan Helsley) who checked in just shy of $1 million. Sean Murphy and Tommy Edman didn't receive any money for awards placement, but they ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Joint WAR ranking, earning them more than $700,000 apiece.

Eleven other players earned at least $500,000 in the program: Steven Kwan, Bo Bichette, Alejandro Kirk, Nestor Cortes, Logan Webb, Shane McClanahan, Cal Raleigh, Daulton Varsho, Nico Hoerner, Triston McKenzie and Tony Gonsolin.

The top 100 pre-arbitration players in joint WAR receive bonuses, adding up to a fairly large group of players. It suggests even middle relievers and role players will receive a bonus, even if they weren't on the MLB roster all season. This isn't a pool of money for star players only. A lot of players very early in their careers get a little extra.

As noted, the pre-arbitration bonus pool is designed to put more money in the pockets of young players, who don't make nearly as much as veterans but are often their team's most productive players. Getting more money into the pockets of young players was a top priority of the MLBPA during last offseason's collective bargaining sessions.

The bonuses must be paid by Dec. 23 and they come out of MLB's Central Fund (the team pays their player's bonus, then is refunded by MLB). The bonus pool will remain $50 million for each of the five years covered by the current collective bargaining agreement.