The Dodgers and Infielder Max Muncy have agreed to a contract extension, tweets Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic. Under the previous extension he signed with the Dodgers, they had a $13MM club option for his services in 2023. That is now guaranteed at $13.5MM, with the Dodgers now having a $10MM club option for 2024, plus incentives.
This extension is a bit of an early birthday present for Muncy as he turns 32 on Thursday. The lefty slugger was a late bloomer by my Major League Baseball standards, with his 2018 breakthrough season at age 27. That year, he hit 35 home runs and cut .263/.391/.582 for a wRC+ of 162, indicating his offense was 62% better than the league average. In 2019, he proved it was no fluke, hitting 35 home runs again and hitting .251/.374/.515 for a wRC+ of 133.
After those two strong seasons, Muncy finally reached arbitration for the first time in his career, at the age of 29. He and the club failed to come to an agreement, with the club asking for $4MM while Muncy’s side submitted a $4,675MM. Before the hearing, the two sides agreed on a longer-term pact, running until 2022, with the option for 2023. Since Muncy was on track to achieve free agency after 2022, that extension effectively gave a year of control. while allowing him to guarantee himself $26MM in future earnings, and possibly more.
Muncy slumped a bit during the abbreviated 2020 campaign, but was outstanding in the postseason, helping the Dodgers win their first World Series title since 1988. Last year, he returned to the pace he established in 2018 and 2019, hitting 36 home runs, producing a batting line of .249/.368,527, wRC+ of 140. Unfortunately, he injured his arm in a collision near the end of the game. season, an injury that prevented him from participating in last year’s postseason.
That injury seemingly lingered into 2022 as Muncy spent time on the injured list due to left elbow inflammation and struggled through the early parts of the season. However, the real Muncy has been roaring back lately. Until the end of July, he hit .161/.310/.303 for a wRC+ of 82. However, since the calendar flipped to August, he has hit seven home runs and lowered .328/.409/.776, bringing his wRC+ for the season. to 105.
That’s still a small sample of just 66 at bats, but the Dodgers apparently have enough confidence in Muncy’s strong August that they’re willing to stick with him for another year. If that vote of confidence pays off, they’ll be rewarded with the ability to keep Muncy around for another season. For Muncy’s side, he can finish the season and enter the play-offs with the peace of mind that his 2023 salary is locked in with a small raise. The details of the incentives are not yet known, but that may give him a chance to bring in some more revenue.
More to come.