From today until Jan. 15, the annual rite of passage that has been in place since 1974 begins: salary arbitration filings. There are two situations where arbitration can come into play. Players, under club control, with 3 to 6 years of major league service (MLS), players that have between 3-6 years of major league service time are eligible for salary arbitration, as well as a group of players categorized as “Super 2”.
To qualify as a Super 2, a player must:
- Have at least 2 years of service, but less than 3, and;
- Have accumulated at least 86 days of service in the previous year, and;
- Rank in the top 17% of all 2-year players in service time.
The cutoff point generally falls between 2 years, 128 days of service and 2 years, 140 days
Last year, of the 111 players who filed in 2009, 109 fell into 3-6 years of ML service time, plus Super 2s.
Also, when a player with 6 or more years of major league service files for free agency, his club has the option of offering arbitration. A club must offer arbitration in order to get compensation in the form of draft picks if the player signs with another club. If the player accepts arbitration, he is no longer considered a free agent and he becomes bound to that club. If a player refuses arbitration, as most players do, he is a free agent who can sign with any club including the one he played for last year. Of the 24 free agents who were offered arbitration in 2009, only two (Darren Oliver, then with the Angels and David Weathers then with the Reds). The 2010 class will see Rafael Soriano of the Braves, Rafael Betancourt the Rockies, and Carl Pavano of the Twins as the only three players that accepted salary arbitration when offered by their clubs.
The Biz of Baseball will be tracking each player that files, along with any contracts reached in the salary arb process, beginning today. Check back often.
For details on last year’s salary arb class, see 2009 MLB Salary Arbitration Vital Stats
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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