If you've noticed the glut of players agreeing to terms for one-year contracts this week, rest assured it's not a coincidence.Friday marks the next notable deadline on the Major League calendar, as teams and arbitration-eligible players must exchange salary figures in preparation for a potential hearing. Many players, including Oakland's
If you've noticed the glut of players agreeing to terms for one-year contracts this week, rest assured it's not a coincidence.
Friday marks the next notable deadline on the Major League calendar, as teams and arbitration-eligible players must exchange salary figures in preparation for a potential hearing. Many players, including Oakland's Khris Davis ($10.5 million) and Cleveland's Cody Allen ($10.575 million), settled with their clubs on one-year contracts this week and will avoid the arbitration process this year.
If a player and club go to a hearing, an arbitrator decides on one proposed figure -- either from the player or the team -- and that will be the player's salary for the upcoming season.
For some teams, the 1 p.m. ET deadline represents a cutoff time to settle on a salary figure for 2018, while others are willing to continue negotiating right up until the scheduled hearing.
The teams with a hard deadline employ what's known as "file-and-trial" or "file-and-go," choosing to go to a hearing once the two sides exchange numbers. According to sources, roughly two-thirds of teams follow this strategy, while the other 10 teams or so are willing to negotiate beyond Friday's deadline.
Last year, eight arbitration-eligible players earned $10 million or more, including Manny Machado ($11.5 million), Zach Britton ($11.4 million) and Jose Abreu ($10.825 million), each of whom are arbitration-eligible again this offseason.
Machado, Josh Donaldson ($17 million salary in 2017 as part of a two-year deal he signed after his 2015 American League MVP Award campaign) and Dallas Keuchel ($9.15 million) are among the biggest names entering arbitration for the final time. They figure to command the largest salaries among arb-eligible players, and they're set for free agency next winter. Abreu ($10.825 million), Anthony Rendon ($5.8 million), Jacob deGrom ($4.05 million) and Marcell Ozuna ($3.5 million) are among the others in line for salary bumps in their second year of arbitration.
Bryce Harper, who settled on a $13.625 million deal with the Nationals last year to avoid arbitration, will earn $21.625 million in 2018 after agreeing to a deal with Washington in May to steer clear of arbitration again. He is eligible for free agency next winter.
Players who have between three and six years of Major League service time become eligible for salary arbitration if they do not already have a contract for the following season. Players with between two and three years of service time -- known as Super Two players -- can also be arbitration-eligible if they meet certain criteria.
Some notable Super Two players -- these players will be eligible for four years of arbitration rather than the standard three -- are Kristopher Bryant, Noah Syndergaard, Lance McCullers, Addison Russell, Corey Knebel and Maikel Franco.
Mookie Betts, J.T. Realmuto, Jake Lamb, Justin Bour, Aaron Sanchez, Kyle Hendricks, Alex Colome and Ken Giles are among those players eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter.
One of the most interesting cases to watch will be Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, who lost his first-year case last year when the two sides went to a hearing. That Betances lost wasn't the notable part -- players lose arbitration cases about as often as they win -- but rather the public back and forth that took place between the team and Betances' camp in the wake of the decision.
Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.