The projected cutoff for players to achieve “Super Two” status this year will be two years, 140 days of Major League service time (commonly written as 2.140), according to Ryan Galla of CAA Baseball (Twitter link). Super Two status can have significant financial implications for teams and players, but before we delve into which players stand to benefit and which will be harmed by this year’s projected cutoff, here’s a quick refresher for those who have forgotten or are unfamiliar with the Super Two distinction.
The most common way for MLB players to become eligible for arbitration is simply to accrue three years of Major League service time. A full year of Major League service is defined as spending 172 days on a 25-man roster or on the Major League disabled list.
However, the top 22 percent of each year’s class of players with between two and three years of service time that also spend at least 86 days (half a year of MLB service) on a 25-man roster or on the Major League DL are also deemed eligible and referred to as “Super Two” players. These players will be eligible for arbitration prior to reaching their third year of service and commonly go through the arbitration process four times, as opposed to the standard three.
Among the current Major League players that would qualify for this distinction upon collecting a full year of service in 2015 are Dan Jennings (1.171 years of service), George Kontos (1.171), Justin Grimm (1.170), Dan Otero (1.169), David Lough (1.169), Avisail Garcia (1.167), Jurickson Profar (1.167), Didi Gregorius (1.159), Danny Farquhar (1.158), Nolan Arenado (1.155), Jean Machi (1.154), Seth Maness (1.154), Marcell Ozuna (1.153), Scott Van Slyke (1.151), Tyler Thornburg (1.146), Evan Scribner (1.142) and Alex Torres (1.141). It remains possible that not all of the names listed here will accrue the necessary service time to cross the 2.140 threshold, so not all of these names are locks to receive Super Two status.
There are also a number of players who could be recalled from the Minor Leagues and achieve Super Two distinction, presuming they’re on a roster for the required 86-plus days. Brandon Barnes (2.058), Steve Clevenger (2.058), Chris Parmelee (2.058) and Scott Diamond (1.161) are just a few examples of such players that began the season in the Minor Leagues but could end up as Super Two players. (Of course, with enough service time, the players with two-plus years could also hit three years of MLB service, bringing them a year closer to free agency and reducing the minimum number of trips through arbitration to three.)
This year’s cutoff projects to be a bit higher than it has been in recent years:
- 2014: 2.133
- 2013: 2.122
- 2012: 2.140
- 2011: 2.146
- 2010: 2.122
- 2009: 2.139
If the 2.140 cutoff holds, a few players that looked likely to end up as Super Twos will instead fall just shy of eligibility. T.J. McFarland (1.138), Zach Putnam (1.135), Oswaldo Arcia (1.132), Kole Calhoun (1.130), Anthony Rendon (1.130) and, to a lesser extent, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Alex Wood (1.123) all stood a chance at reaching Super Two status based on previous cutoffs but appear to be on the outside looking in at this point.
It should also be noted, though, that last year’s April projection of 2.128 wound up falling a bit shy of the actual 2.133 cutoff, leaving Drew Hutchison, Eduardo Escobar and D.J. LeMahieu worse for the wear, financially speaking. Of the players currently on the bubble, Torres would be the most susceptible to missing in this fashion. We’ll have a clearer picture of the firm cutoff date later in the year, as MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reported the 1.133 figure late last September.
One player of particular note in all of this is Tampa’s Chris Archer. While Archer is already signed to a long-term deal, his contract calls for different base salaries depending on whether or not he’d have otherwise qualified as a Super Two. It seems like a virtual lock that he’d have qualified at this point (and that was the expectation all along), as Archer entered the season with 1.156 days of service. Archer’s deal guaranteed him $20MM at least, but the guarantee is $25.5MM if he would otherwise qualify for Super Two status. Archer earns $1MM in 2015 regardless, but he will earn $2.75MM in 2016 (as opposed to $1MM), $4.75MM in 2017 (vs. $3MM), $6.25MM in 2018 (vs. $4.75MM) and $7.5MM in 2019 (vs. $7MM) thanks to his presumed Super Two status. His $9MM and $11MM club options for the 2020 and 2021 seasons remain unchanged.