Probably the most underrated, least known, and least talked about part of the offseason for a Major League baseball team among its fan base is the arbitration period that takes place in January and early February. The whole process is very complicated and very hard to understand for the casual fan. Thankfully, the staff here at Venom Strikes is here to help all D’backs’ fans understand the process so you know what is coming in the next month or so. First let me start off by explaining the process in general. If a player is drafted and is offered a contract by his drafting team or any team to which he is traded, according to Major League Baseball, he may not become a free agent until:
- His contract has expired with at least six years of service time on a major league 25-man roster or disabled list, OR
- His contract has expired with less than six years of service time, but the player first signed with a Major League Baseball team as a 10-year free agent from the Japanese major leagues (NPB).
- His contract has expired with less than six years of service time, but is not tendered a contract or salary arbitration offer (if eligible) by the tender deadline (usually at the end of November). Such players become non-tender free agents.
Next, according to Major League Baseball, a player with at least six years of service time is eligible for salary arbitration if he:
- is without a contract for the next season, AND
- has been tendered a contract offer by his current team by the tender deadline, AND
- cannot agree with his current team on a new contract, AND
- meets one of the conditions below:
- has been on a major league roster or disabled list for at least three years, OR
- has at least two years of major league service but less than three, AND is among the top 22 percent for cumulative playing time in the majors in this class of players (and ties), AND was on an active major-league roster for at least 86 days in the previous season.
Players with more than 6 years of service time may also be eligible for salary arbitration when their contracts are up. They become free agents if they have been tendered a contract offer by their current team by the tender deadline, and have not agreed on a contract with the front office.
Following the salary arbitration process, both the organization and the player submit salary proposals and the arbitrator sides with one or the other and that is the player’s salary for the upcoming season. A player acquires service time if he or she has been on a Major League roster for at least 172 days of the 182 game season. The 4.2 arbitration involves the Super 2 example in which the player will have an extra year of service time eligibility. Notable examples include Russell Martin and Ryan Howard.
Today is the salary arbitration filing deadline with 146 players filing for hearings with their team throughout the Majors. January 17th will be when the figures are exchanged and the hearings are held between February 1st and the 21st in St Petersburg, Florida when most clubs are in Spring Training.
The Diamondbacks have four players that have filed for salary arbitration: OF Gerardo Parra, reliever Joe Thatcher, reliever Josh Collmenter and newly acquired outfielder Mark Trumbo. The Diamondbacks have not gone to a salary arbitration hearing since 2001 when C Damian Miller had a hearing. Players and teams are free to work out a deal before the players hearing and considering the Dbacks history I am sure the team will work out a deal with all four players before the hearings in February.
I hope this helped all D’backs’ fans understand the arbitration process. See you at Spring Training!