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Super Two eligibility set at earliest point in a decade

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MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Super Two cutoff has been set at two years and 115 days of service time. It’s the lowest the threshold has been set in a decade.

Super Two eligibility is a salary arbitration concept. All players who have zero to two years of service time are not arbitration eligible and thus have their salaries unilaterally set by their teams. All players with three years or more of service time — but who have not yet reached the six years required to become unrestricted free agents — are eligible for arbitration. By having one’s salary set via arbitration, their past performance is taken into account and they can begin to make some real money.

A small handful of players who have more than two years but less than three years of service time are considered Super Two players, and they are included with the 3+ players and get to go through arbitration. They go through up to four times instead of the typical three. That small handful of Super Two players consists of the guys who finished the previous year in the top 22 percent of service time among players with two to three years of service time. Depending on when that top 22 percent was initially called up, the exact level of service time to reach Super Two eligibility floats. Sometimes by as much as a couple of weeks one way or the other.

This year’s formula has it set at two years and 115 days. If you served that much or more, you’re a Super Two. If you served less, sorry, wait until next year. As MLB Trade Rumors notes, the luckiest duck in that crowd is Milwaukee Brewers’ reliever Josh Hader, who has exactly two years and 115 days under his belt. In the just-missed-it club: Arizona’s Luke Weaver, with two years 112 says, and Oakland’s Matt Chapman at two years, 109 days.

Given that Hader has been one of the best relievers in all of baseball over those two years and 115 days, he stands an excellent chance to make a good deal of money in arbitration. So, go get that money, Josh.

Evan Gattis says he is ‘done playing’ baseball

Evan Gattis
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In a recent appearance on the 755 Is Real Podcast, hosted by The Athletic’s David O’Brien and former Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty, catcher Evan Gattis confirmed he is “done playing” baseball. Gattis said back in October that he didn’t have any desire to continue playing the game, so this news comes as no surprise.

Gattis, 33, hit .226/.284/.452 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI for the Astros in 2018. The Astros did not extend him a qualifying offer, then $17.9 million. Though reporting on specific offers is scant, it is hard to imagine he received zero offers, or would have received zero offers if he were still interested in playing.

Gattis has one of the more interesting stories out there. He was a well-regarded college baseball prospect, but he battled anxiety and substance abuse. He checked into rehab and, temporarily, abandoned his baseball-related pursuits. Gattis eventually resumed playing college baseball but suffered an injury, prompting him to drop out of college. He went on to take on some not-so-glamorous jobs, including working in a pizza shop, as a parking valet, a ski-lift operator, and a janitor. Gattis battled more mental health issues, suffering from insomnia and depression, resulting in suicidal ideation. He checked into an inpatient psychiatric ward for several days. Afterwards, Gattis roamed around the west coast, going from Colorado to New Mexico to California to Wyoming.

In 2010, Gattis returned to baseball, playing for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He performed rather well, resulting in his being drafted by the Braves in the 23rd round that year. He worked his way through the minors quickly, debuting in the majors in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history. Gattis retires with a career .248/.300/.476 batting line along with 139 home runs, 410 RBI, and 299 runs scored over 2,662 trips to the plate.

The story of Gattis is an important one because mental health in general was not taken seriously, especially among men. It still isn’t, to a large degree, but it’s better now than it was 10 years ago. Due to social taboos and gender norms, men are much less likely to seek help for mental health issues. That Gattis — a burly avatar of testosterone — was willing to be vulnerable about his struggles with his mental health was important.