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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Passan: Inside the wild, wonky world of MLB salary arbitration

To begin, the player’s side gets an hour to make its argument. After a 15-minute break, the team gets an hour. Following a 30-minute break, during which both sides finalize their closing arguments, the player’s side gets a 30-minute rebuttal and the team gets the same. Players often sit through a savaging of their accomplishments. Arbitration hearings are not for the weak of heart.

The arguments throughout a case run the gamut. Arbitrators have long rewarded home runs and saves, so they are featured prominently among the players with them, like Oakland’s Khris Davis, who could seek a raise from $10.5 million into the $18 million range. At the same time, the arbitration system is not the antediluvian, abacus-using Luddite-fest it has been portrayed as. The wins above replacement metric is used extensively. So are fielding independent pitching for starters and leverage index for relievers. Statcast data is not allowed in cases, mainly because the league has a far greater plethora of it than the union; and in 2016, when the CBA was signed, the accuracy of spin-rate and launch-angle metrics so vital to modern baseball was not tested out over a large enough sample to warrant their inclusion.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 10, 2019 at 01:03 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: arbitration

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   1. JL72 Posted: January 10, 2019 at 02:31 PM (#5804222)
If nothing else, a real good read into the mechanics of the arbitration process.
   2. Ziggy's screen name Posted: January 10, 2019 at 03:40 PM (#5804269)
Why do players attend arbitration hearings? You'd think they'd spend that afternoon on their yachts and call their agents in the evening to learn how rich they are. It's not like they're going to say anything that will help their case.
   3. JL72 Posted: January 10, 2019 at 03:51 PM (#5804277)
Why do players attend arbitration hearings? You'd think they'd spend that afternoon on their yachts and call their agents in the evening to learn how rich they are. It's not like they're going to say anything that will help their case.


In theory, being there makes it more human for the decision makers. They see the actual person as opposed to having it become just a name on paper. Same reason almost every company has a person represent it at counsel's table in a court case.

Having said all of that, I am not really sure if it works or not.
   4. dlf Posted: January 10, 2019 at 04:02 PM (#5804287)
I know a few people who have served on the salary arbitration panels, including one who heard, among others, the infamous Ryan Howard case being my father-in-law. None would admit that the player's demeanor (or that of the club) during the hearing affects the outcome, but despite being professionals, they can't simply turn off human emotions. For example, I feel reasonably certain that the histrionics of Alex Rodriguez's attorney during the biogenesis arbitration matter, including storming out of the hearing itself, giving an impromptu press conference on the sidewalk while the MLBPA was presenting affected the outcome as the decision was horribly rendered - not necessarily in the result, but in how it was structured and ignored CBA/JDA provisions.
   5. Zonk Sits on the Stool next to Slats Steely Posted: January 10, 2019 at 04:17 PM (#5804294)
I know a few people who have served on the salary arbitration panels, including one who heard, among others, the infamous Ryan Howard case being my father-in-law.


Tell the truth.... he just looked so jolly and basebally!
   6. dlf Posted: January 10, 2019 at 04:30 PM (#5804296)
Well, he did say about two other cases that Freddie Garcia looked HUGE and that David Eckstein had really big hands. :)

   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 10, 2019 at 04:35 PM (#5804298)
David Eckstein had really big hands.
The better to grit and scrap with, my dear!
   8. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: January 10, 2019 at 05:11 PM (#5804306)
Well, he did say about two other cases that Freddie Garcia looked HUGE and that David Eckstein had really big hands. :)

I was talking with a lawyer once who represented the team (Angels, I think) during one of Eckstein's arb hearings. Eckstein was super intense looking when the team made its case. The lawyer said it looked like Eckstein wanted to jump over the table and pummel him, and that he looked more than capable.

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