Salary Arbitration offers; whether they are feasible or not -- MLB News

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Tyson Gay

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Baseball News
  • Salary Arbitration offers; whether they are feasible or not -- MLB News

The offseason is almost coming to an end. With all the trophies being conferred and all the best players nominated and decided by BBWAA, after all the new managerial appointments and free agency hiring. After trading and buying the services of affiliated team’s young lads, the offseason is now at the verge of salary arbitration.

Salary arbitration is a scenario in which basically a deadlock is resolved. This concept is applicable mostly in the case where both the player and the league are putting forth each other the salary offer. Arbitration normally involves the appointment of an arbitrator who decides that which of the two sides offer is feasible and as per the market standards. The offer that appeals the arbiter the most is considered the full and final salary and afterwards cannot be negotiated.

As a norm the players, who have earned much respect in the game and increased their worth as well, become free agent usually after 6 years. They become eligible to join any league which offers them competitive market rate salary. But if this does not happen i.e. an offer is not made then the former team has to make a ‘Salary arbitration offer’ to such free agents before the deadline. In current offseason the deadline was November, 23rd.

The offer by the league to its free agent player is usually less than the market but more than the free agent’s previous year’s or contract’s salary. Both the free agent and the player submit offers in front of the arbitrator. The arbitrator has certain criterions to keep in mind before picking up the appropriate figure. The criteria usually are:-

  • Players Past Performance especially the most recent one
  • The player’s public demand and worth
  • The career length and the length of the service player has provided to a particular league
  • Players preceding year’s compensation along with the continual increment in his worth with the passage of time
  • Comparative baseball salaries i.e. salaries that are currently prevalent in the market among the players with same caliber
  • One of the biggest aspects i.e. the injuries, if the player has faced any, and his health status e.g. for a starting pitcher his throwing shoulder should be perfectly in form.
  • The overall recent performance of the club and the free agents contribution to either the leagues win or loss

These are the major aspects that an arbitrator takes into consideration before issuing his or her decision. Another aspect that one must understand is that this Salary arbitration system of deciding a player’s salary is feasible only to some extent. There are basically certain eligibility requirements to opt for salary arbitration:-

  • Players who have played for at least 3-years in MLB but less than 6-year
  • Players who have been in action for at least 2 years but fewer than 6-years, this also includes another technicality a ‘Super-two’ concept i.e. a player who has been in service for 86 days in the previous season and who is also among the top 17% players in service in MLB
  • The third category eligible for Salary arbitration is Free- agent i.e. those who have spent more than 6 years of service in the game

Salary arbitration is somewhat treated as a tactic by the leagues to restrict their free agent or arbitration opting players at their desired salary offer. This assumption is definitely true and I am also not that much in support of settling of remuneration by arbitration especially when it comes to ace players and those icons who have earned much respect in the game and among the fans after such hard work and have placed on the board stats that equals to legends of the game.

Consider for example the cases of Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, David Ortiz, CJ Wilson, Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes, the dominant Type-A free agents for the season 2011/2012. These top names in the list of free agents have recently been contacted by their former leagues for salary arbitration.

Now everyone knows that what each of the above 6 players’ worth in the open market, Pujols is a two time world series winner, 9-time All-Star member, 6-time silver slugger, 2-time gold glove, 6-time NL player of the month, 11-time NL player of the week and last but not the least has been nominated in the race of NL MVP 11 times. Now this is just a glimpse of the people’s champion what will one offer to a guy with such a portfolio. The last yearly salary that Albert received was $14,508,395 whereas his current total worth is almost more than $110,000,000 apart from this his OPS is sixth in MLB history.

It is this reason why Albert will most probably decline the Cardinals offer since the offer is to stay for one-year and this is not what the 3-time NL MVP wants he at least wants a long term contract which is hefty in amount also. This is just one example; all the six players have complete endorsement of their fans regarding their game play. Salary settlement by arbitration is basically an aspect that just saves the leagues from facing substantive loss.

To put the discussion to an end, if this salary arbitration doesn’t help the top free agents how can it resolve the grievances of the young players who haven’t made any goodwill in the game? I support the fact that salary arbitration is helpful only if a player who has spent 3-years in the game and has also placed a significant impact such player can definitely opt for arbitration since in this way they can prove the arbitrator there worth and can get a handsome sum or at least a pay that is worthy of their performance.

But overall such a chance is one in every 50 cases anyone can strive to become Albert Pujols, Fielder, Kemp, Kershaw, Verlander or Braun but not everyone can actually become like them therefore salary arbitration is an aspect that mostly helps the leagues and sometimes the players. Hope that we see Pujols continue to slug for Cardinals but if not feasible he will go to someone else who is not only going to give him a decent contract but is also willing to sacrifice drafts. The last date to answer the Arbitration offers is November 30.

 

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