Cubs shortstop Nico Hoerner had a fine 2022 season, his first true full MLB year. He batted .281/.327./410 with 22 doubles, 10 home runs and 20 stolen bases, and his strong defense led to a 4.5 bWAR season, the best bWAR mark for any Cub in 2022.
Hoerner was paid a bit over the minimum salary in 2022, $720,000.
Per this article by Mark Feinsand, Hoerner was one of 26 players who received money from MLB’s Pre-Arb Bonus Pool, which was negotiated as part of the new MLB/MLBPA collective bargaining agreement. Here’s how that works:
There is a pool of $50 million for this bonus program, which is reserved for players who began the season with fewer than three years of service time and had yet to qualify for arbitration via “Super Two” status. Of the $50 million, $38.75 million is reserved for statistical accomplishment (based on “Joint WAR”), with $11.25 million set aside for players who finished high in awards voting.
“Joint WAR” is a figure agreed upon by the parties, which is measured — and honestly, I’m not completely sure how — by both bWAR and fWAR, the latter from Fangraphs. Hoerner had 4.0 fWAR in 2022.
The purpose of this is to pay more to players not yet eligible for arbitration who put together good performances. The article doesn’t say how much Hoerner specifically got from the pool, only that he was one of 11 players who received “more than $500,000”:
Eleven other players earned at least $500,000 in the program: Steven Kwan, Bo Bichette, Alejandro Kirk, Nestor Cortes, Logan Webb, Shane McClanahan, Cal Raleigh, Daulton Varsho, Nico Hoerner, Triston McKenzie and Tony Gonsolin.
Feinsand’s article also notes that 11 players received more than $1 million from this pool, led by Dylan Cease of the White Sox, who was paid $2,457,426 on top of his 2022 salary of $750,000. The rest of the players who received money from the bonus pool are listed in the article. Here’s how they get paid:
Eligible players will be paid by their clubs on or before Dec. 23; the clubs will subsequently be reimbursed by the Commissioner’s Office.
Hoerner, of course, is now arbitration-eligible and MLB Trade Rumors estimates he’s in line for about $2.2 million in 2023. Jed Hoyer indicated in his postseason news conference that the team was considering long-term extensions for Hoerner and Ian Happ.
They should get both of those done sooner rather than later.