Here's another one for the MLBTR Glossary...
Once a player has six years of service time, he can become a free agent as long as he isn't under contract for the next season. This gives him the right to negotiate a contract with any team. Players don't typically become free agents until they've served six years in the majors, but some hit free agency earlier if they're released or if their teams choose not to offer them contracts. Here's the timeline for players who hit free agency after collecting six years service time.
- Players have 15 days to file for free agency once the World Series is over. During that period, they can only negotiate with their former club.
- Teams have until December 1st to offer their players arbitration.
- Players then have until December 7th to reject or accept their team's offer. If they accept the offer, they can negotiate with their club until arbitration hearings take place later in the winter. If they reject it, they can negotiate with the teams of their choice, including their former team.
- If a team offers a player arbitration and he rejects it, they can obtain compensation picks for losing him, depending on the player's rank and whether his club offered arbitration.
- No free agent can be dealt without his permission until June 15th of the following season.
- Players can be Type A free agents, Type B free agents or neither. Here's an explanation of the process used to distinguish players.