MLB announced Wednesday that the Cubs’ Mike Fontenot had won a tiebreaker against Adam Jones and the Reds’ Micah Owings to become the last super-two arbitration-eligible player.
All three players had two years and 139 days of service time. Initial reports had the cutoff at 141 days, but that proved to be false.
As we touched on last month, Arizona’s Mark Reynolds was another young star who barely missed the cutoff. From that article:
Under the rules of MLB, players with between three and six years of service time, as well as the top one-sixth of players with between two and three years, qualify for arbitration after every season. Those top one-sixth are known as “super-two” players, and that one rule is why we’ve seen teams so cautious about promoting prospects in April and early May during recent years.
The Orioles don’t stand to gain quite as much as the Diamondbacks did with Reynolds, but Jones, who just claimed a Gold Glove on Monday, could have earned $3 million or so next year had he qualified for arbitration. Now he’ll probably receive $500,000-$600,000. The difference will also be felt in future years, as super-two players traditionally do better financially all of the way through their arbitration years.
As for Fontenot, the Cubs were already expecting him to qualify for arbitration. He probably won’t earn more than $1 million, but he doesn’t appear to be in the team’s plans anyway, and he could be traded or non-tendered this winter.
Other super-two players include Tim Lincecum, Hunter Pence and Matt Garza. The recently traded Carlos Gomez also made the cutoff, but the Brewers were accounting for that when they picked him up for J.J. Hardy. Alex Gordon is another super-two player. He was due to have three full years in before the Royals manipulated his service time in August to gain control of him for another year.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.