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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Will Walker Buehler Get the Next Pitching Megadeal?

  • Buehler threw the first complete game of the MLB season.
  • He avoided the first two years of arbitration by signing a two-year, $8M deal prior to the 2021 season.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Walker Buehler continues to prove he’s one of the best starters in baseball — while boosting his leverage for the next pitching megadeal.

Buehler tossed the first complete game of the MLB season in the Dodgers’ 4-0 win over the Diamondbacks, allowing no runs, no walks, and just three hits while striking out 10.

The 27-year-old has momentum after a dominant 2021 campaign that saw him post career bests in wins (16), ERA (2.47), and WAR (6.6), make his second All-Star game, and finish fourth in NL Cy Young voting.

Given the recent market for pitchers and Los Angeles’ penchant for handing out big contracts, Buehler could be in line for a massive payday sooner than later.

  • Buehler avoided his first two years of arbitration by signing a two-year, $8M contract prior to the 2021 season.
  • The Dodgers have the highest 2022 payroll ($290.6M).
  • Gerrit Cole set the market for massive pitcher contracts in December 2019 when he signed a record nine-year, $324M contract with the Yankees at age 29.

Having now made his first Opening Day start, it’s possible that Buehler has already supplanted Clayton Kershaw — who’s playing on a one-year, $17 million pact — as L.A.’s ace.

If so, the Dodgers would be wise to invest in Buehler before he’s tempted by the market in 2025.

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