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Thursday, February 07, 2019

How To Save MLB Free Agency

So how would restricted free agency help beyond getting players to the market earlier? It should also increase their share of revenue.

Players with more than three years of service time but less than six are eligible for arbitration. The first year of arbitration eligibility is supposed to garner a player about 40 percent of their open-market value, the second year 60 percent, and the third year of arbitration approximately 80 percent, though that estimate does not always apply. While arbitration earnings are far greater than pre-arbitration salaries, which are typically near the minimum salary, they are still short of market value.

The type of restricted free-agency system that owners attempted to implement in 1994 seems increasingly beneficial to players today. That system could have made young star Francisco Lindor a 25-year-old free agent this winter and Mookie Betts a 25-year-old free agent last winter.

While clubs would likely fight today against something they proposed a quarter-century ago, free agency isn’t working as intended for many players. The union might need to be more creative and dig in for change.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 07, 2019 at 05:19 PM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agency

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Davo Posted: February 07, 2019 at 10:25 PM (#5813543)
Can anyone explain to me why the MLBPA objected to his proposed solution (restricted free agency after 3 years service time) back when the owners proposed it in 1994?
   2. bbmck Posted: February 07, 2019 at 11:12 PM (#5813557)
Murray Chass could explain why before he lost his fastball.

The short version is that restricted free agency was never rejected, just that a proposal that included restricted free agency was rejected.
   3. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 08, 2019 at 12:57 AM (#5813573)
Of course, there is a salary cap now, and the owners snuck it by the players by calling it something else.
   4. Bhaakon Posted: February 08, 2019 at 02:21 AM (#5813579)
I root for this type of restricted free agency just to see the implosion when the Red Sox offer double market value for the Yankee's best young player, or the other way around, just because it's worth that much more to stick it to your cosmic rival (or the only other good team in the division). The system would be gloriously ripe for gamesmanship.
   5. . Posted: February 08, 2019 at 07:45 AM (#5813586)
Not many offer sheets in basketball, not many offer sheets in hockey -- both of which have early-career restricted free agency.
   6. Bhaakon Posted: February 08, 2019 at 12:07 PM (#5813702)
Both basketball and Hockey have more teams make the playoffs than miss it, and neither has baseball's first round bye for winning a division, and the playoffs aren't enough of a craps shoot for 'just getting in' to give a team a significant shot at winning it all (at least in basketball. I admit ignorance about hockey). There is little incentive in those leagues' playoff formats to screw over any one team in particular. In baseball, divisions are smaller and more significant--meaning a situation where there is only one other legitimate competitor in a division is more likely to arise--and the wildcard round bye is more valuable than mere home field advantage--meaning screwing over that one competitor directly has additional benefits.

If you put 5 teams in a single bucket with a guaranteed playoff spot and a first round bye as the prize for winning, and if 2-3 of those teams have no hope of winning that division next season, suddenly you have a list of competitors for that division title that's short enough for gamesmanship to pay off in ways it simply can't in the NBA and NHL playoff structure.
   7. Greg Pope Posted: February 08, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5813713)
The first year of arbitration eligibility is supposed to garner a player about 40 percent of their open-market value, the second year 60 percent, and the third year of arbitration approximately 80 percent, though that estimate does not always apply.

I've never heard of this. Is this a guideline or has it just fallen out this way?

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