Holiday bonuses came early for 100 MLB players who qualify for the first-ever pre-arbitration bonus pool.
Chicago White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease will take home the most, a source told ESPN, over $2.4 million after finishing in second in AL Cy Young voting and sixth in WAR among qualified players.
The new collective bargaining agreement, signed between the league and players in March, set aside $50 million for the top 100 players according to MLB's WAR metric who have less than three years of service time in the league.
There are also additional bonuses for those qualified players who finish first or second in Rookie of the Year voting, in the top five for MVP and Cy Young as well as first and second-team All-MLB.
For example, Cease, who made $750,000 in salary in 2022, will earn an extra $707,425 due to his WAR ranking and $1.75 million for his second-place finish in the Cy Young race. Houston Astros slugger, Yordan Alvarez, will make the second-most, $2,381,143 -- $881,143 due to his top ranking in WAR and $1.5 million for finishing third in the AL MVP.
AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez earned an additional $1,550,850 thanks to the new pre-arb pool while NL Rookie of the Year Michael Harris earned an extra $1,361,435. San Diego Padres outfielder Trent Grisham earned the least in Year 1 of the new system, $201,700.
The addition of a pre-arbitration pool was considered a win for players after years of young stars being underpaid. Many -- like Cease and Alvarez -- will earn more in bonuses than their yearly salary. Bonuses are due to players by Dec. 23, paid by the team but then reimbursed by the league through a central fund.