Last week we explored a poll covering December transactions from the year 2016, the ramifications of which Nationals, White Sox, and Yankees fans are all feeling to this day. This article’s look-back will touch on another poll from the archives and focus on a topic that affects the league at large: service time regulations.
Service time is one of the more universal components of major league baseball— if a player is on a team’s active roster during the regular season, he’s going to accrue service time. How quickly a player accrues service time affects their career earnings, both through the arbitration process and how quickly they’re compensated in free agency. For teams, service time signals how long they have control of a non-market value (read: very affordable) player, is a major component in assessing trade value, and is closely monitored to maximize a team’s perceived competitive window.
Because the accumulation of service time affects player compensation and a team’s roster construction, it’s not much of a surprise that editing the existing service time structure has been a hot-button issue in the ongoing CBA saga. MLBTR broke down what each negotiating party looked to change with the current service time structure here, but the general attitude of each side can be described as this: the MLBPA wants its players to reach active rosters and free agency as soon as possible, while the league has proposed to rework the system but generally has little urgency to shake up a longstanding way of doing business.
Any changes to the existing service time structure will be tricky, and may require concessions from the benefitting party elsewhere in CBA negotiations. That said, barring a massive overhaul in the way players reach free agency it’s likely that a new system will be just as exploitable as the current iteration.
Teams have always looked to keep their brightest young players under team control for as long and cost-effectively as they can, and it’s unlikely they’ll budge to a structure that will make that mission much harder. Baseball fans meanwhile, will of course want their teams to act logically under any system that’s set in place— more than 73% of voters in a 2018 site poll indicated baseball’s service time structure was tolerable, even if they didn’t think it was fair to players.
Anecdotally, a majority of sampled fans feel that keeping a Kris Bryant-type prospect in the minor leagues for a few weeks in April is okay if it leads to another year of team control. The exceedingly rare instances where that type of player cracks an Opening Day roster, as was the case with the immediately-impactful Fernando Tatis Jr., are welcome breaks from service time considerations and generate buzz, but can seem regrettable if a top player departs a team six years down the road instead of an easily-attainable seven.
With the league preparing its next round of economic proposals, the service time structure as we know it may soon look a bit different. If that proves to be the case and the current structure is modified, it’s possible a deal can be reached that feels workable for teams and more inherently fair to players. That said, there’s no guarantee any changes will be made to service time structure when several other key issues remain on the table. To the fans, at a time when change may be on the horizon, we’ll ask again: how do you feel about MLB’s service time rules?
The best players should play. There shouldn’t be disincentive to promoting players.
The best players are gonna find there way to the surface one way or another? The new collective bargaining agreement if it addresses service time I don’t think will disincentive to promoting players, rather accelerate a players process in the “grand bargin” which is a player accepts less money earlier to be paid more later in their career? Adjusting the arbitration process could be a way about going about this? You’ll see more 27, 28, 29 year old free agents instead of 30, 31, 32 year old free agents?
Basically I think the two sides are so far off on all the issues a strike is inevitable
Double talk it’s soooo awesome
They can’t strike if they’ve already been locked out.
Why would they be unfair to ‘fan interest’? Give me a break.
A favorite player leaving as a FA does not build fan interest. Of course if you’re a fan of the large market team signing them…
Keeping a top prospect in the minors where they are tearing it up just to get another year of service time isn’t in the fan’s interest. That player should be in the majors helping the team win. Those wins count the same as those in September.
If the teams investment in a player provides a shorter term of control, a player will need more prep time in the minors. A player’s peak seasons are from 26-28. As an investment, a team is not going to want those peak seasons being played for the competition. A fast riser in Detroit’s system is Riley Greene. Under the current rules, he is likely to be up with the MLB team this year. If control is dropped to 4 or 5 yrs, he is likely to play a full year at AAA. While the Tigers are hoping to be competitive this year, winning the division is a longshot, so why waste his limited time, and make him a FA at 26? Of course, if he’s willing to sign a long term extension before call up…
I really see age-based free agency as the only solution that’s ultimately palatable for both sides.. Guys become FAs at 28.
It would hurt some players and benefit others but it also incentivizes teams to put their best players on the field.
If everyone becomes a free agent at 28, college players (who probably won’t establish themselves until 25) are a suddenly immensely less valuable in the draft and you create a huge disincentive to education. And you may lose some scholarly athletes to other sports.
The Tigers are actually a team that doesn’t seem to play the service time game, at least when the team is in position to win. I expect Greene to start opening day assuming he had a great spring. He’s clearly ready and the Tigers know a bad start last year killed their season. Tork will likely start in AAA, unless he tears it up in spring, since he has less MLB experience and had a slow start last year. They did the same with JV and Zoom in 2006 and have had a number of Super 2 players in the past.
Kris Bryant and Vlad Guerrero would like a word
Dude I remember 94 and how devastating it was to the sport. They’re all ready so worried about drawing in more and younger fans, if they do that it could kill the sport
Baseball has a minor league system with guaranteed contracts. Paying the best even if their young has to be balanced somehow. Players are not forced into the sport and seem to want everything both now an later. Teams have shown they will give long term deals but expect give back for that early guarantee. Mookie Betts bet on himself each year but how many situations work out that way? Remember Joe Charboneau and Mark Fidrych? For one reason or another, they were one year wonders. Imagine a long term deal for either. Maybe the idea is a restricted free agent until age X. Let the current team have the right of first refusal. It’s not mentioned but such could hurt certain players if their home team isn’t bidding but simply waiting. Anyway, fans of teams deserve something. I started by rooting on players and the team’s they were on. Today, a good chunk only cares about individual stats and the impact they have on their fantasy betting.
Fidrych was badly handled by the Tigers. He pitched 34 innings his 1st yr in the minors, 174 IP his 2nd, and 250 IP the next yr in the majors. Unsurprisingly he got hurt. He was still effective the following 2 yrs but couldn’t stay healthy and on the field. Long term deals for drafted players eliminated any incentive for teams to rush players like that and for managers to over work pitchers.
Ok so how do you address the obvious issue owners face then? They lose a year of control if they call a player up a few weeks too soon. What are you giving back to the owners in exchange?
7-8 years of team control if a player under 21 years of age is called up to the majors? Maybe something along those lines?
The intent was for teams to have control for 6 years before free agency. The teams then discovered a loophole and are taking advantage of it. There is nothing to “give back” to the teams.
You can’t fix service time manipulation. if there is service time it will be manipulated. either deal with it or scrap the whole system.
You could fix it with an age based time. The owners’ proposal of age 29 had no chance.
And there would be the opposite problem. Teams would sacrifice minor league development to milk as much at the MLB level.
Yeah, if they made it 26.5 years of age, it could work. Owners aren’t doing that though, and 29 was ridiculously unfair to even suggest.
26.5 isn’t enough control, 27.5-28 seems reasonable though,
29 wasn’t that ridiculous when you consider the majority of players aren’t hitting FA until their 30s under the current system. But it holds the best players captive for too long and limits potential FA contract size which is what the union has worked to avoid for years now.
Just keep it as is. You get 6-7 years of control as it is. Maybe take away an option year so these relievers can’t be shuttled as much. They’re the ones who end up reaching free agency at an old age.
Age based control doesn’t work. What are you going to pay a guy like Juan Soto who comes up when he’s 19? 40MM in his 9th year of team control?
Compromise service time for those that completed college or maybe subtract % of a year for each college year completed.
I think if you used an age based time more high schoolers would be drafted earlier.
If a player is called up and spends just a day on the roster count it as a full year. Would solve the manipulation and suppression of talent.
humphrey x boegarts
But then you would get teams not promoting young players in September for a taste of the bigs. Would still be better though overall
Since roster expansion is only 28 compared to 40 a few years ago I don’t see it as much of an issue. Plus most of the manipulation is players not staying on after spring training. I think something like that is also pretty fair and something the owners could agree to and the players could potentially settle for.
that constitutes an overhaul, because it’s not “service time” as much as years in the league at that point.
Exactly. Seasons appeared not days spent.
Not sure who edits these articles, but the first paragraph of this piece was completely unnecessary.
I have never worked in jobs with any editorial duties and maybe you’ve done so, but the first paragraph seemed to simply introduce the topic and also connected previous articles on CBA issues.
When did you become so salty
You need pepper to balance the salt but Rob Manfred banned pepper. ️
You’re unnecessary but yet someone gave birth to you. =))
That has yet to be definitively proven…
Make it aged based as opposed to time in the majors based. Or at least adjust the formula to allow for that.
Why not just start service time accumulation once called up. For example you spend 1 day on the MLB roster you get service time for the full year. Would be based on seasons appeared not days spent.
Scrap service time for a set amount of years of team control. Base pay on a sliding scale with escalators for awards, All-Star appearances, and league leading statistics.
You’re suggesting five years of arbitration which doesn’t really change anything. The players want a bigger piece of the pie.
Well then maybe they should go buy their own pie
The antitrust exemption prevents anyone else from making a pie.
Everybody talks about how unfair it is that a young player that performs well is not paid as well as a vet who does not.
Nobody takes into consideration the fact that teams spend millions of dollars on drafting, otherwise acquiring, and developing young players.
The minor leagues are trade schools for prospects. The specialized training they receive is a long term benefit. Perhaps the better young players are underpaid vs what some vets make, but a team should be allowed to recoup some of its investment in developing hundreds of players, only a few of which ever produce much at the MLB level.
Cutting back on the amount of service time before reaching free agency will reward big spending teams and penalize orgs who are ahead of the curve in player drafting and development.
If there is a disconnect between performance and salary, maybe the real solution is to stop rewarding players when they dont produce….but nobody is ever gonna sit for that.
The players have some legitimate gripes, but this isn’t one of them.
If they want to end service time manipulation, hold out for major, major, financial penalties for franchises who consistently lose lots of games. If it costs a team that is manipulating service time more for losing than it would for playing its best players earlier, that owner will start actually try to win more games.
Teams recoup plenty of that money. They pay those minor leaguers practically nothing while they’re getting this training, and those minor leaguers have to foot some of the expenses for the travel associated with playing the game at that level on the peanuts they make.
Developing talent is part of any business. If you don’t want to lay out some money, don’t buy a baseball team.
If a kid goes to college to become an engineer, he pays the freight on that….and he doesn’t start his career making half a mil.
While its true that if you dont like the cost of developing players, you should stay out of baseball, it also holds true for a player. If you dont like the money that a MLB player makes, go into engineering….lol.
I agree that the players should get a bigger piece of the pie, with caveats.
And what percentage of minor leaguers were given signing bonuses and/or multi yr deals from the college/HS or international draft?
The Saber-toothed Superfife
I wish I could get paid practically nothing…….
It’s like you totally missed his point. The salary they’re given isn’t the major investment and obviously development in baseball is different than many other businesses, but even with that said, go ask the owners of a business if they want to invest time and money into an employee they think is going to leave in a few years.
I dont like that players are kept down to cement an extra year of control, but that is the rule set that was in place. Teams would have been financially unwise to ignore the benefits. Now is the time to negotiate for something new if that is what the owners or players want.
Perhaps start the clock as soon as they’re drafted/signed; something like 10 years for international signees, 8 for the domestic draft out of HS, 4-6 for out of college depending on class, 2 for late bloomers out of independent ball or other avenues. Make the time an org as a whole can control the rights finite as opposed to treating MiLB and MLB service as separate entities. This would allow the clubs to have control until most players’ mid-twenties and not have guys only getting to free agency in what is now considered by many clubs decline years.
I think it should be done by WAR and playing time combined so that there’s still a service time consideration, but if the player is *that* productive and *that* valuable, he should get paid, period.
And if a guy is on a major league roster getting paid every two weeks for the major league season, they should probably be making more than $570k or whatever the current minimum is. I think the minimum should be more like the NBA minimum of $15k a day, pro-rated for the MLB season. So more like $7,500 a day instead of the current amount that is a bit less than $3k a day.
And if a guy comes up from the minors at 27 years old in September and hits the ground running and produces 2 WAR over the final few weeks of the season, he should get an automatic amount that is say, 10% of the qualifying offer, so around $1.83M or something for his full rookie season and then if he sticks around for that rookie season, he should go to arbitration immediately and be eligible for however arbitration is calculated starting at that point, meaning at least $2.196M or something like that, or going by WAR if he’s worth, say, 7.5 WAR his first full season, and 7.5 WAR is worth $45M, he should get 10% of that immediately, so $4.5M. Etc.
So if a guy is a late bloomer and only has a short window of value and sustainable physical health and burns out early but is very productive during a brief career, he can get paid closer to what he would have earned as a free agent if he’d been younger and can walk away from baseball without feeling like he did some special, valuable stuff and didn’t get paid for it. A guy like that can have a shooting star career and still make a solid $20M or something around there.
And the period of team control once a guy reaches the majors should be shortened to 4 years or the amount they get paid in guaranteed salary and the way arbitration is calculated should pay players more during that period of their careers.
Free Agency should be what the market will bear, though.
There’s no perfect solution to these problems, but there has to be a happy middle ground.
U cant use war ud screw all the relievers
Sure you can. You just look at the average WAR plus service time plus average free agency salaries of career relievers and go by that- similar to what they do now when relievers go through arbitration.
You can extrapolate a relief pitcher’s number of games appeared in plus innings pitched and pro rate their WAR against similar relievers on free agent deals pro rated for arbitration values. That part doesn’t change.
WAR would also screw utility players, who are often penalized because they are asked to play out of position, which impacts dWAR.
dWAR also inflated defensive specialists and hurts mashers who are otherwise average defensively. One year, at 3b, Yolmer Sanchez had a higher WAR than Manny Machado.
It’s a useful tool, but should never go into any evaluation, because it’s very often arbitrary depending on the player.
The only responsibility the team has re service time is to ensure that the paying customers of their team reap the benefits of having a drafted player on the team for as long as possible. The team doesn’t exist to pay players high salaries it exists for the paying customers. It costs teams millions to develop a player to major league standard that often gets ignored. Yes, the players should get a fair piece of the pie and earlier in their careers but let’s be realistic.
I think you sign a player from draft you got 4 years of control that’s it period
Congrats, you just made HS players basically undraftable, fantastic idea.
Players hate service time manipulation but no matter the system, there will be a way to game it. IMO, a combination system would work best. 6 years, as it is now, but also by a certain age, like 29. Shortening service time from 6 years to something lower is only going to hurt small market teams. Already a serious financial inequality between the biggest and smallest market teams that leads to competitive inequalities. But adding an age by which a player reaches free agency regardless of service time will lessen the ability of teams to manipulate service time of most players. Also allows players to enter free agency at an age where they are still likely productive and can get paid. I like 29 as most players debut sometime after their 23rd birthday.
Nothing major will change unless MLBPA agrees to alter unrestricted free agency. Nothing has been worse for competitive balance than overpaying old players late in their careers. Every team has a budget and if 20% of your budget is tied up in a player flirting with the Mendoza line you can’t win.
MLBPA would need to cap years (not going to happen), cap total contract value (not going to happen), install some sort of buyout system (similar to hockey but pay out the entire value over more years).
Both sides might want to take a look at games played as an additional factor in calculating service time, and not just time on a roster. You hold back a huge prospect for a few weeks, then, suddenly, he’s mature enough to play every day. Kris Bryant is the perfect example…he was over 150 games in each one of his first three years, including his rookie season. That’s a lot different than, say, a Tyler Wade, who has 3+ years of service time and fewer than 500 PA. Of course, there will still be some manipulation, but top-tier younger players who can stay on the field deliver a lot of value to their teams.
Service time is unfair to fans? That makes zero sense. My favorite player, leaving earlier via free agency, is the result of a service time adjustment. SMH
yeah this is silly to me. not seeing a player like Kris Bryant in the first few weeks of a regular season is worth seeing him for a whole year down the line.
I don’t think service time is a particularly big deal for the union and I doubt it will change much. Thing is, the manipulation shenanigans and the supposed unfairness of paying great players minimum salaries really only affects a few guys, mostly position players, the vast majority of whom will get paid anyway in a year or two. If you’re more of a normal MLB type, arbitration pays you pretty close to market rate and you’re likely to reach free agency before six years anyway, because of a nontender or DFA or what have you. It matters greatly to one type of party: small market teams. And they won’t budge on it.
The other core economic issues are far more worrisome.
Sid Bream Speed Demon
I don’t see the service time as an issue. Most of the kids it affects are the same ones that secured huge signing bonuses, so I don’t buy into the crying poor over it. International guys (not from Cuba) are generally different, but let’s not act like Kris Bryant was done dirty with his $6.7 million dollar signing bonus.
The Saber-toothed Superfife
I blame Al
What if, kind of like Super Two, there’s a system where the top 5 percent or so of players with 5+ years of service time hit free agency?
The Saber-toothed Superfife
There there is something wrong with this country there’s something wrong with you people since when how is half a million dollars practically nothing? That’s a heck of a lot of money. America has lost its focus America’s lost its priorities America has lost any flipping common sense what is wrong with you people
and why the hell won’t Chris ilitch hire the Superfife? Proving there’s something very seriously wrong with this country aside from there being something rotten in Denmark Denmark Denmark
Boo hoo, owners. If they weren’t rolling in money as a result of owning a team, they wouldn’t do it.
It can be very simple. If you play at least 1 game in 2022, whether its Opening Day or September 30, or whether you play 1 game or 162, that starts the clock as Year 1. You are then a free agent after the 2026 season.
Hard salary cap, hard floor 2/3 to 70% of the cap, non-guaranteed on full contract (NFL model). Learn from successes and mistakes in the NFL and NHL. Don’t want a salary cap? Consider league contraction – which will NEVER happen.
The NFL model doesn’t work, MLB teams do not have shared revenue streams the way that NFL teams do. So a 2/3 floor means either half the teams have to operate in the red (in some cases, deep in the red), or the cap has to be so low that the union would never ever agree to it.
The system you are proposing would result in prospects just not being called up. Basically, if a prospect doesn’t make the club out of spring training, then he isn’t coming up- why waste a year’s service time? Maybe teams in serious contention will make the move if they feel it might put them over, but everyone else- forget it. You’d see bad teams playing short handed or signing guys off the street rather than calling up even mid level prospects to fill in for injured major leaguers.
This is one of the worst takes in this entire thread and that’s saying something.
I don’t foresee any major changes unless MLPA concedes to restrictions on long term contracts like the NBA and NFL did.
The service time clock should be adjusted to start when the player is signed or drafted. If I player is drafted out of high school, his clock is z years. If he is drafted out of college, his clock is y years. If he is signed as an international free agent his clock is z years. This would give the teams incentive to get the players to majors as quickly as possible, and it would end the service time games.
Just have service time start when drafted instead of when debuting. 6 years for college players (technically 5.5 since the year they’re drafted is only half a year), 6.5 years for HS
Sid Bream Speed Demon
So you think the owners will agree to high schoolers becoming free agents at 24.5? LOL Not likely, not to mention that such an absurd idea would cut development time and likely hurt the players in the long run.
So HS players get 1 extra year of control vs over a college player? That certainly would disincentivize teams from drafting high school players.
The current formula should be modified to allow essentially three different paths to arbitration and free agency.
The first would be the current one, based on service time.
The second would be based on plate appearances, innings pitched, and games appeared in (for pitchers)
And the final one would be a hybrid of the above two but would lower the thresholds for older players, so a late blossoming player who doesn’t reach the majors until he is 27 can hit free agency before his mid 30’s.
This eliminates some of the incentives to manipulate service ala Kris Bryant- there is no point holding him back a few weeks to start his service time clock if you fully expect the player is going to be a full time regular once he reaches the majors, because you anticipate they will reach free agency through the second path anyway.
If you do it thus way, you could also set the base service time marks further back- say 3.5 years to be eligible for arbitration and 6.5 years to be eligible for free agency. The players who are actually playing won’t be hurt by this since they are going to still reach free agency through the 2nd route, but the clubs get a little benefit in that they maintain control a little longer of players who are accumulating service time on the DL (unless those are older players).
Manipulation is going to happen no matter what you do, particularly if you are talking about clubs that are not trying to win.
Impact guys like Acuña Jr., Tatis Jr., Vlad Jr., Bichette, Soto, Betts and former star prospects, Harper and Trout……Players if this magnitude, should never be held back. Just lock them up if you want their services and over and fine with!
In nurse follars
The number of players who’s service time is allegedly manipulated is so small the argument is insignificant. For me the problem is having to pay more for low performers and 4A players. I note that mlb players never give money back when they stink.all risk is with ownership
Sean Newcomb is a really good example of this needing reworking. He came up in 2017 and won’t be a free agent until 2026. He’s just in his first year of arbitration.
Can we make a line up out if this type of players?
1.Acuña Jr. RF
3.Vladimir Jr. 1B
6.Tatis Jr. SS
Bench: Salvy C, Bichette SS, Bregman 3B, Bellinger 1B/OF, Turner 2B/SS.
Just my preferences guys!
How about free agency as a diminishing returns table?
Player comes up before they reach age 20; team has 8 years of control; salary arbitration starts after the second season in the majors.
Up before age 21; 7 years control; salary arb after second season.
Up before age 23; 5 years control; salary arb after first season.
Up before age 26; 4 years control; retroactive salary for MLB player for each season in the minors, salary arbitration after first season.
Up after age 26? 2 years control, at salary 1.5x first year salary.
Also, MLB needs to pay minor leaguers an actual living wage, and then some…
It blows my mind that each minor league club can sell ~100,000 to 300,000 tickets a season at $10/ticket; plus an extra $15 in concessions for say half those tickets – and not be able to pay all minor leaguers a base salary for their minor league level single A should pay $40,000/yr base; double A should be $55,000; triple A should be at least 1/3 of what an MLB player makes
I see a lot of comments asking for a salary floor. Fans of smaller market teams will hate that. A floor says that you MUST spend the money, but nowhere does it say that a certain player MUST sign with your team. So, if your team is ready and willing to spend on a couple big names, but those names sign elsewhere, you might get stuck overpaying for for sub-par players just to get to the floor. With guaranteed contracts, your team is stuck with those guys. Maybe even blocking one of your prospects. It’s far from a perfect scenario.
It happened recently in the NBA. The Knicks cleared a lot of room for the chance to sign KD, Kyrie, etc. All the analysts were expecting them to sign two or three guys. But then, nobody signed with the Knicks. They were forced to overpay on guys like Portis and Randle. Randle turned out ok, but he’s far from the star that they were banking on.
A soft floor might be ok, similar to the luxury tax. Perhaps if a team doesn’t reach the floor, they aren’t eligible for revenue sharing. Speaking of shared revenue, how about a use-it-or-lose-it system? If your team is eligible for revenue sharing, it has to be spent on player salaries. Any money that’s not spent, goes back into the pot instead of the team’s pocket.
I think there is a pretty ‘easy’ compromise here. Leave the existing 6 years of control policy in place with one exception. Players get a full year of service credit if they are on the MLB 26 man roster for 82 or more games in a season (more than 1/2 the year). If a team has a stud rookie, they would only be hurting themselves by making him wait until 81 games have been played before bringing him up, so this would all but eliminate the gamesmanship for the best young players. They could also consider the 29.5 year old proposal MLB offered as an add on. So you become a free agent the sooner of 6 years of service or once you have turned 29.5 years old.
I agree except I don’t really like age based free agency, because basically either college players get disincentivized from being drafted or high schoolers, but I really like your idea of changing how long a “year” is for service time purposes. Another potential fix is that you get a year of service time if you appear on the MLB 40 man for 81 days, not the 26 man, which means you can’t hold someone in the minors unless you leave them exposed in rule 5.
If they move the service time cutoff to any one specific date (be that 81 days of service or even just one day) all it will do is change the part of the year they do service time manipulation in. If a team is less than a month away from getting an extra year of control on a hot prospect you can bet that most teams will do that, no matter what part of the year it happens to be in.
What about the 4A type players who are with their original clubs. Players who know once they become free agents, know it will be tough for them to find a major league contract. They probably hate it once their free agency comes up. I’m sure there are lot more of those type players.
this all day. to an extent, things like optionally or team control make certain players more valuable. age based systems are a great way to harm late bloomers or fringe types just fighting to make the Majors. then again, does the Union care about *potential* MLB players? sad reality is probably no.
Why not just 8 or 9 years of team control starting in the minors, and a guarantee of free agency by age 30 no matter how old a player was when they started? Take away the possibility of manipulating service time. Take away the nonsense a guy like Turnbull is dealing with, he’s never going to get paid under the system bc he’ll be an old FA when eligible.
I want more players that make 1 or even 10 million and fewer that make 300. These huge contracts are bad for the game and limit opportunities for younger players who are better than their elder, more expensive peers.
The system is basically a necessary evil. While it’s technically unfair to the players, it’s necessary to ensure competitive balance, as the only way for small market teams to compete on occasion is to build a core of cheap, young stars through their minor league systems.
As for service time manipulation, it’s going to happen no matter where you set the deadline for Major League service time.
The best solution I can think of is to modify team control to a total of 7-8 years on the 40-man roster (as players will generally spend about a year on the 40-man roster before joining the 26-man roster) and then set the deadline to the day after the deadline for Rule 5 draft eligibility. That way, teams will often have to decide between starting a player’s service time clock or risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft. Although, even that wouldn’t help fast-moving prospects who aren’t yet eligible for the Rule 5 draft, so I also suggest pushing their eligibility forward 2 years.
If you want to stick with the current system of 6-7 years of team control on the Major League roster, then the Super 2 system (or Super One if you want to add an extra year of arbitration eligibility) is about as good a compromise as you can get.
I think the service time requirement should stay where it is for players who reach the rookie status milestones before reaching age 25, but I think for older rookies, there should be a year knocked off if they are over 25, and another year knocked off for those not exceeding rookie limits by age 27.
flat 8 year contracts from the following season they are drafted or age 30-32 (pick one). Increased minimum MiLB salaries and MLB minimum. Add performance bonuses to all players on league minimum including rookie contracts based on fWAR or something. that compound after year two in the MLB. (if a player makes 3m + 5m in bonuses on year 4, year 5 salary starts at 8M)
One year of time equals 20+ games on the 25man. If called up in September then no games counted. but if one other game on the 25 man anytime during the season, those September games count to an MLB season.
remove negotiated signing bonuses. keep them static.
players with a MLB team for 4 years have two years of options. One option is a Vesting team option with a high buy out. If the vesting doesn’t get hit, then it turns in to a mutual option with a lower but reasonable buy out. all based on previous years salary.
I’d like to see a player trade block too. where a player requests a trade and that lasts a period of time in the off season. If a trade is found then the player sacrifices his performance that he would’ve gotten. If a trade is not found then the final two options are bought out immediately based on that year’s salary. that would be a bit tricky i think.
goal, keep players on their teams they are drafted for while giving them some ley way to get out.
anyway bit bouncing around there in my sleepy brain.. probably makes no sense but i typed it so i’m hitting send
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