LOS ANGELES — Walker Buehler and the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers avoided a salary arbitration hearing scheduled for Thursday, agreeing to an $8 million, two-year contract that would escalate to more than $12.12 million if he starts regularly this year and wins a Cy Young Award.

Buehler gets a $2 million signing bonus, half payable of March 1 and half next Jan. 15, and salaries of $2.75 million this year and $3.25 million in 2022.

His 2022 salary can increase by $3 million to $6.25 million based on starts: by $500,000 each for 14, 16, 18, 20, 24 and 28.

Buehler’s 2022 salary would increase by $1,125,000 if he wins the 2021 Cy Young Award or by $625,000 if he is second or third in the 2021 Cy Young voting.

A 26-year-old right-hander, Buehler was the Dodgers’ ace in helping them win their first World Series title since 1988. After going 14-4 with a 3.26 ERA in 2019, he was 1-0 with a 3.44 ERA over eight starts during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, then went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four postseason starts.

OPENING DAY:  The major league season is scheduled to start April 1 with the New York Yankees hosting Toronto and Detroit hosting Cleveland, part of an Opening Day schedule of 15 games.


Major League Baseball announced its initial 2021 schedule last July 9 and updated it Thursday with game times. The schedule envisions every team playing its first game on the same day for the first time since 1968. The Red Sox will host Baltimore at 2:10 p.m.

Four openers are scheduled to be televised on ESPN, starting with Tigers-Yankees at 1:05 p.m. The Los Angeles Dodgers are at Colorado at 4:10 p.m., followed by the New York Mets at Washington at 7:09 p.m., and the Chicago White Sox at the Los Angeles Angels at 10:05 p.m.

Other openers are Cleveland at Detroit at 1:10 p.m.; Minnesota at Milwaukee at 2:10 p.m.; Pittsburgh at the Chicago Cubs at 2:20 p.m.; Atlanta at Philadelphia at 3:05 p.m.; St. Louis at Cincinnati, Texas at Kansas City, Tampa Bay at Miami and Arizona at San Diego at 4:10 p.m.; and Houston at Oakland and San Francisco at Seattle at 10:10 p.m.

The regular season is scheduled to end Oct. 3, with all games scheduled to start shortly after 3 p.m.

BLUE JAYS: Right-hander David Phelps agreed to a $1.75 million, one-year contract a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because an announcement was not authorized before Toronto opens a space on the 40-man roster.


Phelps, 34, went 2-4 with a 6.53 ERA in 22 relief appearances with Milwaukee and Philadelphia last season. He earned $462,963 in prorated base pay from a $1.25 million salary and $434,546 in earned bonuses for $897,509 in income.

Phelps spent the first half with Toronto in 2019 and had a 3.63 ERA in 17 appearances with the Blue Jays. He is 34-38 with a 3.95 ERA in eight major league seasons that also included stints with the New York Yankees (2012-14), Miami (2015-17), Seattle (2017-19) and the Chicago Cubs (2019).

CUBS: Chicago added another outfielder, agreeing to a $1.5 million, one-year contract with Jake Marisnick, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. Marisnick will make $1 million this season, two people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the move was pending a physical. The deal includes a $4 million mutual option for 2022 with a $500,000 buyout.

Marisnick, 29, hit .333 with two homers and five RBI in 16 games with the New York Mets last year. But he is known more for his defense in center field.

PIRATES: Pittsburgh signed veteran catcher Tony Wolters and veteran outfielder Brian Goodwin to minor league deals that include invitations to spring training.

Pittsburgh is looking for an experienced backup behind starting catcher Jacob Stallings, a Gold Glove finalist in 2020. The Pirates are also in serious need of outfield depth, particularly in center field.

Wolters, 28, spent the first five seasons of his big league career in Colorado, He hit .238 with seven home runs and 123 RBI in 391 games with the Rockies. His best season came in 2019, when he hit .262 with a home run and 42 RBI in a career-high 121 appearances.

Goodwin is a career .250 hitter with 69 doubles, six triples, 42 home runs and 129 RBI in 357 games for Washington, Kansas City, the Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati. Goodwin is a versatile outfielder, with at least 58 career starts at each outfield position. Pittsburgh is set in left field and right field with Bryan Reynolds and Gregory Polanco, but the competition in center field is wide open.

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