This year's projected Super Two cutoff is two years, 128 days of service time — typically written as 2.128 — according to Ryan Galla of CAA Baseball (Twitter link). Before we get into the candidates to reach this status in 2014, here's a quick refresher on Super Two status for those who are unfamiliar with the term.
Players with at least three but less than six years of Major League service are considered arbitration eligible. Additionally, a player with at least two years but less than three is eligible for arbitration if he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season and ranks in the top 22 percent in total service in the two-to-three-years service class; these players are referred to as "Super Two" players. The current collective bargaining agreement, which went into effect December 12th, 2011, raised that Super Two cutoff percentage from 17 percent to 22 percent, and that 22 percent of players will be eligible for arbitration four times instead of the standard three times. Also bear in mind that for MLB purposes, 172 days is the equivalent of one year of Major League service time.
Among the current Major League players that would qualify for this distinction following a full season in the Majors are Alex Presley (1.162 as of Opening Day), Josh Donaldson (1.158), Erik Kratz (1.158), Zach Britton (1.158), Kelvin Herrera (1.157), David Phelps (1.156), Tony Campana (1.155), Drew Smyly (1.154), Dee Gordon (1.154), Darin Mastroianni (1.149), Garrett Richards (1.148) Casey Fien (1.143), Jenrry Mejia (1.140), Pedro Beato (1.134), Marwin Gonzalez (1.133), DJ LeMahieu (1.128), Drew Hutchison (1.128), Anthony Recker (1.128) and Eduardo Escobar (1.128). Of course, not all of those names will stick in the Majors long enough to achieve Super Two status.
There are also a number of players that are in the minor leagues with one- and two-plus years of service that could be recalled in 2014 and achieve the status, although it's important to note that a player must accrue at least 86 days of service time in a season to achieve Super Two status at season's end. A player such as Eduardo Nunez, for example, who is in the minors for the Twins but has 2.117 days of service, would not achieve Super Two status simply for receiving a September call-up.
For some context on this year's cutoff, here's a look at the cutoffs from the previous five years:
- 2013: 2.122
- 2012: 2.139
- 2011: 2.146
- 2010: 2.122
- 2009: 2.139
One player of note is Bryce Harper, who, at 1.159 years of service, should be a prime candidate to achieve Super Two status. However, as reported by the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore back in November, the Nationals and Harper have an unresovled contract issue stemming from this very situation. Harper signed a Major League deal out of the draft — something that is no longer possible given the changes to the most recent collective bargaining agreement. At the time the deal was being finalized, the Nationals and agent Scott Boras were unable to come to an agreement on what would happen to Harper's 2015 salary were he to qualify as a Super Two player following the 2014 season. As it stands, his contract does not allow him to opt out of his $1MM salary in 2015 in favor of arbitration. (That salary will almost certainly rise to $2MM due to roster bonuses.) Because an agreement wasn't reached, the sides agreed to revisit the matter if it became an issue and have the situation resolved via a grievance hearing. That could be an outcome now, though an extension or further compromise could also avoid a hearing.
Should Harper be unable to head to arbitration next winter, it could cost him millions, and not just in the 2014-15 offseason. Harper has already done enough to top a $2MM first-time arbitration payday. By earning $2MM in 2015, though, he would not only lose the $2-3MM he would have earned via arbitration, he would also take a hit on future arbitration salaries due to the fact those figures would be based, in part, off of the previous year's arbitration earnings. Instead of having a baseline north of $4MM for his 2016-18 arbitration cases, he'd be starting with a baseline of $2MM.