Early last November, the baseball world was not surprised to learn that Jake Arrieta, Dallas Keuchel and Josh Donaldson had been honored with some of the most prestigious awards in the sport for their spectacular 2015 seasons.This week those players and a select, talented "who's who" of the rest of
Early last November, the baseball world was not surprised to learn that Jake Arrieta, Dallas Keuchel and Josh Donaldson had been honored with some of the most prestigious awards in the sport for their spectacular 2015 seasons.
This week those players and a select, talented "who's who" of the rest of the Major Leagues are getting a few procedural steps closer to cashing in on those performances.
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Tuesday afternoon marks the deadline for filing for salary arbitration, and players and their teams have until Friday afternoon to exchange their desired figures for 2016 salaries. Before we get into what might happen with both current Cy Young Award winners, the American League MVP Award winner and other superstars -- including Rockies slugger and Gold Glove winner Nolan Arenado, stellar Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman, Mets ace Matt Harvey and more -- let's go over a quick reminder of what it all means.
Players become eligible for salary arbitration once they have accrued three years of Major League service time, and that eligibility is covered for the next three years until the player becomes eligible to be a free agent. Others can qualify for arbitration eligibility as Super Two qualifiers, meaning that they have at least two but fewer than three years of Major League service time but are among the top 22 percent of those players, providing they have at least 86 days' service accumulated during the preceding season.
So, practically speaking, players will file for arbitration by Tuesday, they and their clubs will present the numbers they prefer by Friday, and the two parties have until February to come to agreements on one-year deals or lengthier extensions by the time Feb. 1 rolls around and arbitration hearings begin.
Hearings can sometimes get unpleasant, given that players have to hear from their employers why they deserve the lesser of the two salary figures presented. A somewhat humorous example of this has been provided by Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who has told a story about arriving for a hearing after the 1985 season, during which he -- then the Dodgers catcher -- compiled a .407 on-base percentage, only to find out that his team was using that lofty number against him. The Dodgers claimed his lack of speed ended up in him clogging up the bases and becoming a detriment to the offense.
Scioscia won that arbitration hearing, but generally, players and clubs like to avoid having to argue their merits in front of an independent three-person panel while they could be enjoying their last few weeks of leisure time before Spring Training begins. This is why hearings don't happen too often. Players and teams will likely hammer out agreements among themselves before it gets to that point.
This year there's quite a bit of star power entering the arbitration process, and given the amount of young talent that has flooded the game, that's hardly a shock.
Arrieta, the National League Cy Young Award winner, made $3.63 million from the Cubs last season and will be seeking a lot more than that, possibly more than $10 million, for 2016.
Keuchel, who won the AL Cy Young Award, is poised to make a huge jump from $524,500. And Donaldson lost his hearing with the Blue Jays last year but then ended up winning the AL MVP Award. He'll be looking to get a big raise from the $4.3 million he made in 2015.
In addition to that terrific trio, Super Two Arenado, Chapman and Harvey, there's a large group of very talented players who are arbitration-eligible, including, alphabetically, Charlie Blackmon, Lorenzo Cain, Kole Calhoun, Jeurys Familia, Jose Fernandez, Dee Gordon, Kenley Jansen, Manny Machado, J.D. Martinez, Mark Melancon, Shelby Miller, A.J. Pollock, Anthony Rendon, Garrett Richards, Trevor Rosenthal, Tyson Ross and Stephen Strasburg.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.