Arbitration-Eligible Players

Arbitration-Eligible Players

An unsigned player under club control who has accrued at least three but less than six years of MLB Service Time is automatically eligible for salary arbitration.

Also, any unsigned player with at least two years but less than three years of MLB Service Time who accrued at least 86 days of MLB Service Time during the previous season can qualify for salary arbitration as a so-called "Super Two" if the player is among the top 22% in MLB Service Time of players in that group (rounded to the nearest whole number). And if  two or more players are tied with the same MLB Service Time just above the "Super Two" threshold, all of the players with that accrued MLB ST would get "Super Two" status even if that means the number of players with "Super Two" status exceeds 22%.   
NOTE: The "Super Two" threshold post-2022 is two years plus 128 days of MLB Service Time (or 2+128). Because it is based on a percentage, the "Super Two" threshold fluctuates from year-to-year (it was  2+116 post-2021, 2+125 post-2020, 2+115 post-2019, 2+134 MLB ST post-2018, 2+123 post-2017, 2+131 post-2016, 2+130 post-2015, 2+133 post-2014, 2+122 post-2013, 2+140 post-2012, 2+145 post-2011, 2+122 in 2010, and 2+139 in 2009). 

Besides gaining the right to request salary arbitration and have that right four times instead of just three times, being a "Super Two" player also means the player can elect free-agency if outrighted even though he has not yet accrued three years of MLB Service Time and even if he has not been outrighted previously in his career (however, unlike a player who has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time and/or has been outrighted previously in his career and who therefore has the option to elect free-agency immediately or else defer the choice until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, a "Super Two ' player who has not been outrighted previously in his career must make his choice immediately upon being outrighted). 

CUBS PLAYERS ELIGIBLE FOR SALARY ARBITRATION POST-2023: (last updated 5-19-2023)
Adbert Alzolay, RHP 
Nick Burdi, RHP
Codi Heuer, RHP 
Nico Hoerner, INF  
Mark Leiter Jr, RHP 
Nick Madrigal, INF
Julian Merryweather, RHP 
Adrian Sampson, RHP 
Justin Steele, LHP (likely "Super Two" - TBD)
Mike Tauchman, OF
Keegan Thompson, RHP (possible "Super Two" - TBD) 
Patrick Wisdom, INF-OF 

If a club and a player eligible for salary arbitration cannot agree on a contract, the player can request the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to file for salary arbitration. The MLBPA is responsible for delivering all requests for salary arbitration to the MLB Labor Relations Department (MLB LRD) on the Tuesday immediately prior to the second Friday of January. Once salary arbitration has been requested, the player submits his desired salary to the MLBPA, the club submits its salary offer to the MLB LRD, and the MLBPA and MLB LRD exchange the two figures on the second Friday of January. The MLBPA and MLB LRD then schedule a hearing with a three-person arbitration panel. Hearings are held on various dates during the three weeks prior to the start of MLB Spring Training.
 
The club's offer must be at least the MLB minimum salary, and, in most cases, must be at least 80% of the player's previous year's salary and at least 70% of the player's salary from two seasons back. However, if the player received a raise in excess of 50% by a salary arbitration panel the previous season, a 20% maximum salary reduction from the previous season and a 30% maximum salary reduction from two seasons back does not apply, and the club only has to offer at least the MLB minimum salary.

UNSIGNED FOR 2023 - RECEIVED RAISE IN EXCESS OF 50% BY ARBITRATION PANEL IN PRIOR SEASON: (last updated 3-22-2023)
NONE

After arbitration has been requested, the player and the club can continue to negotiate back & forth, and the player can withdraw from the process any time up until the hearing. And in fact this frequently happens, as the player and the club will often agree to just "split the difference" (something the panel cannot do). 
NOTE: Beginning in 2022, if an arbitration-eligible player signs a contract prior to a hearing, the contract is fully guaranteed. 

If the matter does go to a hearing, the arbitration panel must choose either the club's offer or the player's figure, and win or lose, the player is awarded a standard one-year MLB contract with no "minor league split" salary or incentive/performance bonuses. Also, the contract is not guaranteed, so if the player is released during Spring Training, the club would only owe the player 30 days or 45 days salary as termination pay, depending on when the player is released. (A player on an MLB Reserve List signed to a non-guaranteed contract who is released more than 15 days prior to Opening Day receives 30 days salary as termination pay, a player on an MLB Reserve List signed to a non-guaranteed contract who is released 15 or fewer days prior to Opening Day receives 45 days salary as termination pay, and a player on an MLB Reserve List who is released during the MLB regular season receives 100% of his salary as termination pay). 
NOTE: The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) is very sensitive about salary arbitration, so if a player is awarded a contract by an arbitration panel and then is subsequently released by his club prior to or during Spring Training, the MLBPA will almost always file a grievance on behalf of the player, claiming the player was released for economic reasons only (which is not permitted), and asking that the released player receive 100% of his salary as termination pay. In that situation, a club would have to show (by submitting official Spring Training game stats) that the released player was out-performed in Spring Training games by another player (or players) competing for that roster spot.

Arizona Phil Sun, 09/02/2012 - 09:47 am