Guerrero Jr. wins record $19.9M arbitration hearing over Blue Jays
Guerrero and the team were $1.85 million apart as of the Jan. 11 filing deadline, with Guerrero asking for $19.9 million in 2024 and the team offering $18.05 million. The two sides did not reach an agreement prior to Tuesday’s hearing, meaning his 2024 salary was determined by a neutral three-person panel.
He remains scheduled to hit free agency following the 2025 season.
The figure was the largest ever awarded to a player in the arbitration process. Guerrero’s former Toronto teammate Teoscar Hernandez set the previous record of $14 million for the most salary awarded despite losing his arbitration hearing while going against the Seattle Mainers last February.
Guerrero was the only player the Jays did not reach an agreement with ahead of last month’s filing deadline, avoiding arbitration with 11 others, including catchers Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk, outfielder Dalton Varsho, and closer Jordan Romano.
The 24-year-old Guerrero was an All-Star for the third consecutive season in 2023 but had a largely disappointing year by his standards despite winning the Home Run Derby. Guerrero slashed .264/.345/.444 with 26 home runs and 94 RBI, finishing tied with first baseman Brandon Belt for 12th on the team in Wins Above Replacement (2.0) according to Baseball Reference.
Guerrero said through a translator last week he’s tinkered with his mechanics during the off-season and is expecting big things for 2024.
“I improved my mechanics to have as little movement as possible,” he said. “To the naked eye, you might not even notice. I can tell the difference because I can feel it.”
Guerrero hit 32 home runs and drove in 97 with an .818 OPS in 2022 and had his best ever season the year before in 2021, leading the league with 48 home runs and finishing second behind Shohei Ohtani in American League MVP voting.
Next season will be his sixth with the Blue Jays since making his MLB debut in 2019.