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Witt, Garcia, Ragans earn extra money under pre-arbitration pool

Pay those men their money!

Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox - Game Two Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Three Royals players earned extra money under the MLB pre-arbitration pool set up under the new labor deal. Bobby Witt Jr. earned an extra $836,848, Cole Ragans earned $381,333, and Maikel Garcia earned $307,221 under the compensation system based on MLB’s WAR formula.

That compensation is in addition to their base salary, meaning Witt’s total compensation for 2023 was $1,582,598 and Ragans earned $1,105,478. Maikel Garcia’s 2023 salary is not published, but he likely made the MLB minimum wage of $720,000 in 2023, meaning his total salary was $1,027,221.

Witt had a breakout season, finishing seventh in MVP voting with a 5.7 fWAR season. He came the first 30/30 player in club history, finishing with 30 home runs and 49 steals and a line of .276/.319/.495. Ragans also had a breakout season once he was traded to the Royals in mid-season from the Rangers. He put up 2.4 fWAR in just two months with the Royals, with a 2.64 ERA in 12 starts after the trade, and was named American League Pitcher of the Month in August. Garcia was behind only Witt among Royals position player in fWAR at 1.9. He hit .272/.323/.358 in 123 games and finished ninth in baseball in Outs Above Average.

Players can also earn $2.5 million for winning a MVP or Cy Young Award, $1.75 million for second in the voting, $1.5 million for third, $1 million for fourth, fifth or all-MLB first team, $750,000 for Rookie of the Year, $500,000 for second in Rookie of the Year voting or all-MLB second team. They earn those award-based salaries in lieu of a WAR-based salary, and cannot combine those compensations. Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez received the most compensation in the pool with $1,865,349, followed by Arizona outfielder Corbin Carroll, Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman, and Braves pitcher Spencer Strider. The AP has detailed a complete list of compensation earned.

The pre-arbitration pool was set up under the new labor deal to reward players who are not yet eligible for arbitration, typically in their first three years of MLB service time. The pool consists of $50 million that all 30 teams pay into, with money distributed to the top 100 pre-arbitration players (101 this year due to a technicality) based on MLB’s WAR formula. Players with foreign experience (Japanese and Korean free agents) are not eligible.