One hundred and fifty-six players filed for salary arbitration by today’s deadline, the MLBPA announced today. As is always the case, today’s filings mean little in and of themselves. They do, however, kick off arbitration season in full force.
The things to watch for in the news:
- Teams and players will exchange figures between today and Friday, with the player saying what he thinks he’s worth based on comparable players of his quality and service time and the team proposing a lower counter-figure; Many compromise deals will be reached prior to the exchange of figures on Friday;
- As of Friday teams who, as a matter of policy, do not negotiate after the exchange of figures — so-called “file and trial” teams — will cut off discussion until arbitration hearings are held in mid-to-late February. Historically, the Blue Jays, Braves, Marlins, Rays, and White Sox have been “file and trial” teams;
- For the rest, there will be around a month’s worth of negotiations and, in most cases, “agreements avoiding arbitration” will be reached, either for one year or multiple years; finally
- For those left: arbitration hearings. At the conclusion of hearings, the arbitrators will award either the proposed salary of the player or of the team. There will be no splitting down the middle once hearings occur.
All of this applies to players with between 3 and 6 years of service time. Players with less than three years are not yet arbitration eligible and will be paid what the team wants to pay them. Players with greater than six-years, of course, either came to the team via free agency or struck deals prior to free agency buying out arbitration and/or free agency years.