The Dodgers announced they’ve signed infielder Max Muncy to a two-year, $24MM extension. The deal also includes a $10MM club option for 2026. The contract overwrites a $14MM option that L.A. had on Muncy’s services for next season.
A client of Hub Sports Management, Muncy will reportedly receive a $5MM signing bonus. He’ll make a $7MM salary next season and $12MM in 2025, while the deal includes additional bonuses based on his plate appearance totals. The contract has a $12MM average annual value.
Muncy, 33, has spent the past six seasons in Los Angeles. Originally an unceremonious addition via minor league contract, he quickly developed into one of the Dodgers’ most important hitters. The lefty-swinging infielder has reached the 35-homer mark in four of the five full schedules. He popped 36 longballs this past season, tying with Jorge Soler for 12th in the majors in that regard.
That power production comes with one of the sport’s more extreme offensive approaches. Muncy is a prototypical three true outcomes hitter. He pairs the home runs with an extremely patient plate approach. The deep counts translate to plenty of walks, as he has drawn a free pass in 15% of his career plate appearances. Yet he’s also prone to strikeouts and runs very low averages on balls in play thanks to a fly-ball heavy swing.
As a result, Muncy has one of the lower batting averages among everyday players. He hit .212/.333/.475 through 579 trips to the plate this past season. That’s on the heels of a .196/.329/.384 showing. Over the last two years, the two-time All-Star sports a .204/.331/.430 line in a little more than 1100 trips to the plate.
That isn’t quite as impressive as Muncy’s production over his first few seasons in Southern California. The overall offensive production is still clearly above-average, however. Muncy’s 118 wRC+ this year indicates he was 18 percentage points better than an average batter. The front office clearly values his contributions, as they’ve now signed him to three separate extensions.
Muncy has a decent amount of experience at first and second base. He spent the entire ’23 campaign at third base, logging a personal-high 1052 innings there. Metrics like Defensive Runs Saved and Outs Above Average estimated he was between three and five runs below par at the hot corner. That’s hardly disastrous but aligns with his reputation as a bat-first player.
As he gets into his mid-30s, that profile seems likely to skew increasingly towards offense. Whether Muncy sees another 120+ starts at third base may well be determined by the Dodgers’ subsequent offseason moves. Freddie Freeman is locked in at first base. The club should welcome Gavin Lux back from the ACL tear that cost him all of 2023, likely securing second base. Miguel Vargas, Michael Busch and Chris Taylor are among the possibilities for third base reps, although Muncy is clearly above that group on the depth chart.
The designated hitter role will be one of the stories of the offseason. L.A. will see J.D. Martinez hit free agency in the coming days, although they could make him a qualifying offer. They’re sure to make a run at Shohei Ohtani, a potential addition that would push Muncy back to third base.
Even with this deal in place, the Dodgers have plenty of breathing room financially. Roster Resource projected the 2024 payroll around $127MM before this extension. That’ll sit a little under $140MM now, well below this year’s $223MM Opening Day estimate. The $12MM AAV pushes their luxury tax projection to roughly $155MM. That’s more than $80MM south of next year’s $237MM base threshold.
Robert Murray of FanSided first reported the Dodgers and Muncy were seriously discussing a two-year extension. Jon Heyman of the New York Post first suggested the deal was agreed upon. Murray had the specific salary breakdown.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.