MLB News: League Proposes Massive Changes to Current Arbitration and Service Time System

The Player’s Association and MLB have a lot of work to do over the next couple of months. Aside from the rigors of getting through a season, they also have to deal with the construction of a new collective bargaining agreement that will dictate the state of baseball for the next couple of years. 

With that in mind, MLB has already been working on parts of the deal along with the Player’s Association. The most recent report is that the league is proposing sweeping changes to the current service time and arbitration system. 

The proposed change would do away with the current arbitration system and make players free agent eligible at 29.5 years old. MLB also added in a $1 billion pool that would be dispersed to replace the current arb system, though it’s unclear how that would happen. 

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The offer from MLB is an effort to combat what players felt like were service time manipulations happening across the league. It would discourage teams from keeping players in the minor leagues to better fit their championship window despite being ready to go. The current system requires players to qualify for free agency at the end of the season that they accrue 6 full years of service. 

There are arguments against the proposal from MLB, notably since players often reach the big leagues early. A guy who debuts at 20-years-old might not make free agency for nearly 10 years, which is problematic. 

There is still a long way to go, but things are moving in the favor of players. And that seems to be a good thing for the moment. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.


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  1. Unless the owners agree to Team Salary minimums and take away penalties for signing free agents there will be a strike.
    I think the NL will agree to the DH as baseball desperately needs more offense and as pitchers are usually the highest-paid player’s teams want to keep them off the base-paths and at-bat to curtail injuries.
    I also believe they will fight to not punish teams with higher salary limits as that is good for the players.
    Unless the owners decide to meet the Players with honest changes there will be a long and bitter strike as neither side trusts the other.

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