Arbitration Awards Increase By Record Amount in 2009

While the value of most free agents plummeted this offseason, players in salary arbitration did quite well for themselves. Writing for the Associated Press, Ronald Blum reports that the 111 players in salary arbitration received an average pay increase of 172 percent this year.

That figure is up from 120 percent last year. The previous record of 169 percent was set in 1999.

The big winners this year were Nick Markakis and Ervin Santana, whose salaries rose 24-fold and 16-fold, respectively.

Writing for, Fred Claire argues that the arbitration process is "a far greater escalator of salaries than free agency." He quotes a veteran baseball executive who says of the arbitration process, "mediocrity is handsomely rewarded and excellence goes out of sight."

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