Trio of Oakland Athletics earn MLB bonus pool shares

Athletics' youngsters Zack Gelof, Brent Rooker, and Ryan Noda have earned a portion of MLB's pre-arbitration bonus pool money
Oakland Athletics v Washington Nationals
Oakland Athletics v Washington Nationals / G Fiume/GettyImages

Three young Athletics' players have earned a portion of MLB's pre-arbitration bonus pool based on their performance in 2023.

Zack Gelof, Brent Rooker, and Ryan Noda have earned nearly $1m combined of the $50 million pool allocated for players with between 0-3 years of service time, who play on league-minimum contracts.

The bonus pool was developed as part of the 2022 Collective Bargaining Agreement in order to funnel more money into the pockets of deserving players who are paid significantly less than their on-field production would warrant.

Gelof earned $388k, Rooker earned $313k, and Noda earned $311k for their efforts.

Gelof earned his call-up just before the All-Star break and he raked, quickly becoming one of the Athletics' best players. He hit .267/.337/.504 with 14 homers and 14 steals while playing strong defense at second base in 69 games.

Rooker had a career year in 2023. His 30 home runs led the team and he was the Athletics' lone All-Star selection. Rooker doesn't play great defense in the outfield but will be penciled into the DH role and near the top of the A's lineup in 2024.

Noda was a Rule 5 selection, coming over from the Dodgers prior to 2023. He hit just .229 but accompanied that with a .364 on-base percentage and hit 16 home runs. He's one of the more successful Rule 5 selections in recent history and has a firm grasp on the A's first base job heading into 2024.

The highest earners in the bonus pool were Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez ($1.865m), DBacks outfielder Corbin Carrol ($1.812m), Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman ($1.798m), Braves starting pitcher Spencer Strider ($1.692m), and Cubs starting pitcher Justin Steele ($1.673m).

Carroll won the NL Rookie of the Year award, while Strider and Steele both finished top-5 in NL Cy Young voting. Rutschman won an AL Silver Slugger award and finished 9th in AL MVP voting, while Rodriguez finished 4th in AL MVP voting.

Players are eligible for bonus pool awards as long as they remain under team control prior to salary arbitration. Rooker has one year of eligibility remaining, while Gelof and Noda each have two more seasons under bonus pool consideration, assuming neither signs a long-term extension with the A's.