The deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures has come and gone. The players who were under the gun were Pedro Baez, Josh Fields, Yimi Garcia, Kiké Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Chris Taylor. Tony Cingrani had already agreed on a salary with the Dodgers a few weeks ago. The great news is that all of them settled before both the player and team had to exchange salary numbers.
What Is Arbitration?
For some background on about how players are eligible for arbitration. Players with three or more years that are not under a multi year contract (like Kenta Maeda) and aren’t yet eligible for free agency (six hears MLB service time) are eligible for arbitration. Some players with less than three years of MLB service time are eligible for arbitration:
“If they have less then three full seasons of MLB service time, but are within the top 22% of players with more than two years of service time. This is called the “Super Two” exception” – FanGraphs
Some players like Austin Barnes and Max Muncy fell short of being a “Super Two” and this saves quite a bit of money for the Dodgers. Moreover, it gives the Dodgers one more season of team control. Those two, plus Cody Bellinger, will be eligible for arbitration after the 2019 season.
Overall the arbitration process is like this:
- Player is eligible for arbitration is either offered a contract or released
- Players and teams exchange figures
- A hearing is held and the arbitrator chooses either the player or team contract value
At any point in the above process the player and team can agree on a new contract.
MLB Trade Rumors had the following estimates and then followed by the actual agreed upon salary:
- Joc Pederson – $4.3M / actual $5M
- Kiké Hernandez – $3.2M / actual $3.725M
- Chris Taylor – $3.2M / actual $3.5M
- Josh Fields – $2.8M / actual $2.85M
- Corey Seager – $2.6M / actual $4M
- Pedro Baez – $1.8M / actual $2.1M
- Yimi Garcia – $900K / actual $710K
The Boras Concern
My biggest cause of concern was Corey Seager. That $2.6M figure seemed very low for such a great player with three years of experience. Even though he missed most of the 2018 season he’s still a top player. Then when Kyle Schwarber settled for $3.4M this morning I became concerned that things might get difficult in the Seager negotiations. Remember, his agent is Scott Boras and he drives a hard bargain in all cases. At the end of the day, no need to worry.
Getting all the salary arbitration cases settled before they reach a hearing clears out some possible issues. When the hearings occur, feelings can get hurt and it can tarnish the relationship between the player and the team.
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