The Arbitration Clock and its Negative impact on Top Prospects


One of the biggest things in baseball that fans don’t give a damn about is arbitration. They know it’s there, but they couldn’t care less about considerations for service time, monies to be payed to player X, and all the complicated legal jargon that is the underbelly of baseball business. Granted, even P2P did try and read about salary arbitration, but fell asleep before getting past the second sentence. Basically, to put it in a nutshell, arbitration is when a player has reached a certain amount of service time and is a free agent, the team that owned him can offer him a salary for that year. The player can accept that salary or counter, by which point, a judge, colloquially referred to as an “arbitrator” will determine if the player’s price is fair or if the team’s price is fair.


Fans are not generally enthusiastic about arbitration, especially for those players who haven’t even made the big league club yet. Prospects are often at the butt end of the arbitration process, because teams want an extra year of control on their prospects. This is why such players as Zack Wheeler, Dylan Bundy, Jurickson Profar, and Travis d’Arnaud are languishing in the minors while less than talented incumbents continue to lumber around with what limited time they have left, like Shaun Marcum and Anthony Recker, among others. P2P cannot speak for players, but is pretty sure Travis d’Arnaud has had enough of Sin City, especially since that’s where he suffered his season-ending injury that has continuously delayed his big league debut. That, and Zack Wheeler was one of the top performers this spring, and with the rash of injuries that has plagued the Mets, many have called for his call-up.

Bud Selig, Aaron Hicks

Some teams however, have no qualms about losing the extra year of team control that they would normally get with stashing their top prospect in the minors. This is apparently the case with Minnesota Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks and Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who will be making his big league debut at the age of 20 against the Mets. Given that the Marlins are inclined to jumpstart their prospects, the move should not be surprising, but with Fernandez having never pitched above A ball, the results can be disastrous. The same goes for Hicks, who has yet to play a game of Triple-A ball, and looked like the struggling minor leaguer he was after he got drafted in his first game. The thing is, the Marlins and Twins acknowledged that they both are top 25 talents on the team who clearly deserve their roster spots sooner rather than later. On the other hand, Mets fasn will have to wait a month while Wheeler faces “command issues” and d’Arnaud “gets back up to fielding strength”.

Many writers agree with P2P and say that the arbitration system preventing the top prospects from making their debuts sooner rather than later is stupid. While nothing can be done now, the owners and the MLBPA, as well as commissioner Bud Selig should really consider looking over the Collective Bargaining Agreement and smooth over the rough spots.


One comment

  1. Pingback: Requiem for Kris Bryant « Minor League Madhouse

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