If a team has a player on its 40-man roster with at least three and less than six years of Major League service time, who is not signed to a multiyear extension, that player is eligible for MLB’s arbitration process. Some players with less than three years are eligible as well; these are called Super Two players. The arbitration process is used to determine the player’s salary, generally by looking at how the player’s traditional statistics stack up with previously established precedents. About 200 players are eligible for arbitration for 2018, including Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, and Kris Bryant. For many players, the arbitration process is the first major step up in salary prior to free agency.
A player’s agent, with the help of the Players Union, is pitted against the team as they try to settle on a salary. Friday marks the deadline for players and teams to exchange figures, with each side submitting what they think the player’s 2018 salary should be. Many players will agree on a salary in advance of this date; more than a dozen have already. From what I’ve heard, all teams now treat Friday’s deadline as a hard one, meaning if they don’t have a salary agreement by then, they’ll automatically go to a hearing (barring a multiyear extension). Last year, 15 players went to hearings, which occur in February. In an arbitration hearing, each side makes a case for its salary figure in front of an independent panel, and the panel chooses a winner.
For seven years now, MLBTR has been using a proprietary algorithm to project arbitration salaries. We also have a constantly-updated MLB arbitration tracker for 2018, which allows you to filter by team, service time, Super Two status, signing status, and whether the player went to a hearing. You can see and sort by the player and team submissions for those who get to that point, and sort by settlement amount. The tracker has everything you need to keep up with each team’s arbitration class.
How is this not bigger news? This can easily be why the off season has been so slow. The Cubs, Astros, Yankees are all looking at big ticket items and trying to stay under the tax. Waiting out arbitration to get true figures, gives them certainty on what they can offer FA’s……
Seriously, I’m shocked there’s not been more on this until now.
why is the arbitration deadline so late in the offseason? it would seem like a team’s first priority would be to lock down their arbitration eligible players before negotiating major free agent contracts.
Probably because it’s a very standard, regular, well known part of every MLB offseason.
No, this is quite a bit different. Teams exchanging figures had until the arb date to settle. That appears to have gone away. Its either sign now or go to a hearing a few weeks later. Big difference. Especially for any team wanting security in numbers against the luxury tax.
I think it’s generally because the projections for arbitration are very accurate to what arb players ultimately earn. Big market teams who are trying to stay under the tax shouldn’t have to worry about too much of an uncertainty over if a arb eligible player will put them over the tax threshold.
I think the reason why the FA market is so slow is because of the lack of overall talent in this class and the inflated contracts players earn on the open market. Why would NY, LA, BOS give upwards of $15 mil annually to guys like Hosmer, Martinez, Arrieta, etc when they can allocate that money to guys like Harper or Machado next year?
That’s why you see teams that aren’t usually players in free agency in on the top FA’s this year. Don’t get me wrong, the tax threshold plays a major role in big market teams not being involved but uncertainty over ARB eligible players isn’t an issue.
Because the teams can estimate within a few $100K what the salary of each arbitration player will be. Therefore, they can plan out the offseason accordingly.
The salary arbitration process has been around for years. It’s not news itself.
It’s the big name players who are eligible in 2018 that’s making the headlines.
Read his comment. The NEWS is if you file figures, its AUTOMATICALLY going to a hearing. There’s no more last minute deals before the hearings. The only way is to sign a multi year deal. That’s what file and trial is. Some teams operated that way. Now, its everyone. That changed this year. It means you’re getting a barrage of one year signings in the next few days. Which gives teams cost certainty and opens up the FA market for the teams concerned with the luxury tax.
I have no idea where you keep coming up with this stuff. It’s like you are reading things that aren’t there. I see nothing in this post that is unfamiliar or changes much of anything.
om what I’ve heard, all teams now treat Friday’s deadline as a hard one, meaning if they don’t have a salary agreement by then, they’ll automatically go to a hearing (barring a multiyear extension.
That is FAR different than in the past. Not sure how you can’t see that.
I agree… Geez we as fans needs to know this kinda stuff ASAP. And not wait until January geez
What’s interesting is the hard deadline. Teams can wait on it for certainty. And it’s not always THAT easy to predict arb numbers, sometimes they’re off a decent amount.
But, the hard deadline means almost all arb cases will be settled by the 12th. Teams are working on this, instead of FA and will jump back to that then.
Because they don’t want to lose an arb case, then the internal estimates are way off and affect the luxury tax more than MLBTR’s estimates.
The “hard deadline” means players either settle by Friday or they go to a hearing next month. If teams are all going “file-and-trial,” we will probably see an extreme increase in the number of hearings, meaning more arbitration cases will be unsettled by the deadline than in years past.
Free agents are stagnating on the market because analytics-driven organizations are becoming more wary of paying aging players in hope of replicating past success or reaching untapped potential. Players and agents are holding out for inflated deals while front offices are becoming less likely to hand them out.
This current stalemate has very little to do with the arbitration process.
That may well be, but if a team is cutting it very close to that CBT line, a million or two here and a million or two there can make a huge difference. In cases of players in their second, third, or fourth time in arbitration the differences can be in the millions.