Padres and Juan Soto reach a $23 million deal to avoid arbitration

Outfielder Juan Soto The San Diego Padres on Friday agreed to a one-year, $23 million contract to avoid arbitration, sources tell ESPN, in what is expected to be the richest deal on a day when hundreds of players settle their salaries for the 2023 season.

The arbitration process allows players with more than three years of major league service to negotiate their salary with teams for the upcoming season. In cases where the parties can’t reach terms on a deal by Friday’s deadline, they trade numbers which they then take to an arbitration session, where a three-person panel hears a case and chooses a side.

Soto, 24, is in his third year of arbitration, where he was one of a handful of so-called Super 2s — players who qualified after two or more seasons in the major leagues — and previously made $8.5 million and $17.1 million in the system. With another judging cycle to go, Soto has a good chance of success Shuhei Ohtaniwho agreed a $30 million deal this winter, for the largest salary ever for an arbitration-eligible player.

Ohtani, 28, is set to arrive in free agency after the 2023 season and could ask for the first $500 million-plus deal in baseball history. Soto, who rejected a 14-year, $440 million contract from the Washington Nationals before being traded to San Diego before a July deadline, has access to free agency after the 2024 season and could find himself in the same financial neighborhood.

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Others who have made big paychecks as deals are completed in the late morning and Friday afternoon include:

While players who don’t settle by Friday often end up at hearings in February, they are free to negotiate with teams and reach terms beforehand. The Seattle Mariners announced that they had failed to reach agreements with three players, including a football player Teuscar Hernandezwhich they acquired in this winter’s trade.

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