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Wednesday, September 01, 2021

MLB makes new service time proposal to players union

Major League Baseball, as part of its proposal to the players’ association last month, offered to curtail the impact of service time by creating a formula to disperse $1 billion to all arbitration-eligible players and make free agency universal at 29 ¹/₂ years of age, The Post has learned.

The sides met in person on Aug. 16 in Denver. Not all elements of the plan have become public and it is difficult to gauge the full impact of a proposal without understanding how all the details play off one another. Both sides refused to comment on what The Post had learned.

In its proposal addressing service time, MLB was, at minimum, looking to address the union’s concern about service-time manipulation. Players reach arbitration and free agency based on their service, and teams have held back players deserving of promotion to the majors to slow the clock from moving toward those money-making levels.

Right now, all players who reach six years of service can be free agents and all who reach three years plus the top 22 percent in service time between two and three years (Super Twos) are eligible for arbitration.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 01, 2021 at 10:10 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: labor issues, mlbpa

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   1. Hank Gillette Posted: September 01, 2021 at 10:56 PM (#6037899)
Cool. Under that proposed rule, the Nationals could have kept Bryce Harper for 10 years, instead of just six. Why not 29½ or six years of service, whichever comes first?

What happens when a player turns 29½ during the season? Does he become a free agent immediately, at the beginning of the season, or at the end of the season? I bet I know the answer.

   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 01, 2021 at 11:13 PM (#6037906)
Why not 29½ or six years of service, whichever comes first?
The players may counter with some combination of service time or age, whichever comes 1st, along with earlier arbitration eligibility. Lots of ways to tilt it a bit more toward the players, which will probably be necessary to get an agreement without a work stoppage.
   3. John Northey Posted: September 01, 2021 at 11:52 PM (#6037912)
I like the idea of age based - encourages calling kids up quicker. I suspect the players union would push for age 26 and the sides might meet in the middle somewhere. I'd expect a 'if drafted out of high school or IFA then at age 27, college age 29' type thing. Gotta give the team 2-4 years for development, 6 years of ML control roughly to make it work. A higher minimum salary and other items (enhanced money pre-FA) might make it easier to sell.
   4. The Duke Posted: September 02, 2021 at 12:57 AM (#6037919)
Everything the MLB has proposed (or has been rumored to propose ) has been productive. It bodes well for labor peace. The players have screwed up so badly in recent years that the owners can be pretty generous and still be doing great.

Offering to remove the tax on the salary caps is huge. The players should give that up. As a fan, i think this Is terrible and will lead to even grosser salary inequities between teams. Imagine what the Dodgers and Yankees would spend

As a cardinal follower, it’s already depressing to see the Central teams in both leagues operate at AAAA salary levels. It means all the best players are on the coasts and we hardly ever see them.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: September 02, 2021 at 01:29 AM (#6037923)
Hard to tell if it's sloppy reporting. Six years or age 29.5, whichever comes first, would be music to the players' ears. On the other hand, everybody at age 29.5 is a non-starter for the reason #1 proposed.

The billion dollar pool for arb players ... again, is that "no more arbitration, we'll give you a billion for the lot, divide it however you want" or "they'll take what we offer, if that doesn't add up to a billion, we'll give you the difference and you divide it however you want" or is it "we'll keep the current arb system and give you a billion to make up for the guys we screw over"? What about guys with buyouts? Almost regardless, it introduces a hard cap on arb salaries ... which can work as long as it's properly increased year to year.

If I counted right at a site that tracked 2021 arb, there were 220 arb-eligible players which includes guys with buyouts (and maybe guys who'd been DFA'd??). $1 B then is a bit more than $4.5 M average per player which I'll guess is about right so it's a question of how you handle the variance -- superstars, stars, starters, bench/relievers.

Offering to remove the tax on the salary caps is huge. The players should give that up

Huh? I've seen no offer to get rid of the lux tax ... and the players never wanted it, that's from the owners.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 02, 2021 at 08:38 AM (#6037938)
Hard to tell if it's sloppy reporting. Six years or age 29.5, whichever comes first, would be music to the players' ears. On the other hand, everybody at age 29.5 is a non-starter for the reason #1 proposed.

It's an initial offer. You don't start at 29.5 thinking you'll land there. You start at 29.5 b/c you hope to land at 28.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 02, 2021 at 08:52 AM (#6037941)

What happens when a player turns 29½ during the season? Does he become a free agent immediately, at the beginning of the season, or at the end of the season? I bet I know the answer.


Player contracts run the entire season, so I'm guessing you're not eligible until you're 29.5 AND your contract has expired.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 02, 2021 at 09:00 AM (#6037944)

Player contracts run the entire season, so I'm guessing you're not eligible until you're 29.5 AND your contract has expired.


You define age for the contract. It's done all the time in insurance. You pick a date, say June 30th (like BRef does) and then say age is determined by nearest birthday, or last birthday.
   9. winnipegwhip Posted: September 02, 2021 at 09:20 AM (#6037951)
Actually the owners proposal is free agency is granted after 29.5 years of service time.
   10. sanny manguillen Posted: September 02, 2021 at 10:21 AM (#6037957)
Is the Latin America lying-about-your-age thing under control now? Will there be 18-year olds saying they're 16, then coming back three years later claiming to be thirty?

Does the fund for arbitration players make sense? It's seemed to me the union's big concern has been guys in free agency who weren't bringing anything unique to negotiations. I'd think the union would be looking for a way to subsidize those guys.
   11. Rally Posted: September 02, 2021 at 11:39 AM (#6037978)
Looking at Tampa Bay, nearly half their roster is guys who are 29 or close to that age and in the arb or pre-arb stages. They’d lose a lot of production there. But they’d be able to keep Wander Franco for 8-9 years before having to trade him for a prospect haul.
   12. cookiedabookie Posted: September 02, 2021 at 11:57 AM (#6037983)
Get rid of arbitration, have minimum salaries for each season. Teams can non-tender players who they don't want to pay the salary to. Something like:

Year 1: $1 million salary, $500k guaranteed if on the 40 man roster, another $500k prorated to days on MLB roster
Year 2: $2 million salary
Year 3: $4 million salary
Year 4: $8 million salary
Year 5: $16 million salary
Year 6: $32 million salary
Year 7: Free agency

   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 02, 2021 at 12:17 PM (#6037986)
Get rid of arbitration, have minimum salaries for each season. Teams can non-tender players who they don't want to pay the salary to. Something like:

Year 1: $1 million salary, $500k guaranteed if on the 40 man roster, another $500k prorated to days on MLB roster
Year 2: $2 million salary
Year 3: $4 million salary
Year 4: $8 million salary
Year 5: $16 million salary
Year 6: $32 million salary
Year 7: Free agency
Seems suboptimal to have maybe 2/3 of players becoming free agents after their third years, and what, 90 percent (?) after their fourth years. The market saturation would drive down salaries, to say nothing of massively exacerbating the roster churn problem.
   14. T.J. Posted: September 02, 2021 at 03:18 PM (#6038011)
Get rid of arbitration, have minimum salaries for each season. Teams can non-tender players who they don't want to pay the salary to. Something like:

Year 1: $1 million salary, $500k guaranteed if on the 40 man roster, another $500k prorated to days on MLB roster
Year 2: $2 million salary
Year 3: $4 million salary
Year 4: $8 million salary
Year 5: $16 million salary
Year 6: $32 million salary
Year 7: Free agency
This is the basic idea I've been in favor of for years. It doesn't take much in the way of WAR to justify a $4-$8 M salary, I wouldn't think.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 02, 2021 at 03:41 PM (#6038015)
Unrestricted free agency at age 28, restricted free agency at age 26.

Why not tie it to years since they signed? Players that sign at 16-18 are likely going to make the majors younger than the college guys, how about 8 years after you sign you become a FA?
   16. Darren Posted: September 02, 2021 at 03:52 PM (#6038018)
28 or 29 could work, but you'd have to have a pretty hefty salary for ages 26+ or so. Maybe that's a minimum or maybe it's arbitration, but you're really hurting some of the best players otherwise.
   17. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: September 02, 2021 at 04:33 PM (#6038024)
They might screw this up, but there are a million ways to do it better than the current process, with all the ridiculous service time manipulation.
   18. DFA Posted: September 04, 2021 at 08:13 PM (#6038334)
It is difficult to read the tea leaves - one way or another. You know the Owners are going to use the Trout and Tatis, Jr contracts as proof that the system is working. The Players Association are of course entirely right to be angry - Kris Bryant alone possibly lost out on millions of dollars. I will be curious if there will be cracks between big market teams and small market teams, or agents who only really care about superstars getting paid...
   19. bookbook Posted: September 04, 2021 at 08:13 PM (#6038335)
Kill the draft, kill service time as a concept. Rebuild the minors as independent leagues. Let them sign prospects, develop them, and the. Sell them to the major league team for a tidy profit.
   20. Adam Starblind Posted: September 04, 2021 at 10:57 PM (#6038348)
Hard to tell if it's sloppy reporting. Six years or age 29.5, whichever comes first, would be music to the players' ears. On the other hand, everybody at age 29.5 is a non-starter for the reason #1 proposed.


Perhaps there should be some sort of negotiation.
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 08, 2021 at 08:49 AM (#6038652)


You define age for the contract. It's done all the time in insurance. You pick a date, say June 30th (like BRef does) and then say age is determined by nearest birthday, or last birthday.


Well I actually read it now and basically it just means if you turn 30 after July 1, you can be a FA that year. Another interesting part is that they propose scrapping arbitration in favor of some vague formula, and owners are proposing to increase money for pre-FA from $650M to $1 billion. I would love to see arbitration go away, it's such a stupid system.

Owners are also proposing getting rid of the penalty for going over the threshold multiple seasons. The union doesn't care about that though.
   22. cookiedabookie Posted: September 08, 2021 at 10:12 AM (#6038655)
I would love to see arbitration go away, it's such a stupid system

Me too. It's why I like the suggestion I made. Pay based on seniority in the league. If the teams don't want to pay it, you get to be a free agent and choose a new place to play.
   23. cookiedabookie Posted: September 08, 2021 at 10:13 AM (#6038656)
It doesn't take much in the way of WAR to justify a $4-$8 M salary, I wouldn't think.

$8 million is about 1 WAR on the free agent market
   24. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 08, 2021 at 10:22 AM (#6038659)
I think that is better than the status quo, but I don't like valuing service time over performance. I guess you can non-tender guys that aren't worth the pay bump, but there is still no recourse for players that deserve well over the minimums. The idea of a formula based on performance is rather intriguing. I'd also favor some restricted free agency in the last year or two.
   25. BDC Posted: September 08, 2021 at 10:42 AM (#6038660)
Well this is disappointing. I was expecting it to be 29.5 to the day and minute. I had visions of Joey Gallo, May 2023, and a bidding war breaks out in the fourth inning.
   26. . Posted: September 08, 2021 at 01:09 PM (#6038692)
Yawn.

Either play, or don't play. Doesn't really matter to anything important whether or not you do. Your jobs are the very definition of "frivolous."
   27. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 08, 2021 at 01:57 PM (#6038703)
Thank you for prefacing how vapid and empty your comment was going to be with a yawn.

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