Posted Under: Johanna's View
Yesterday was the day that teams and agents for arbitration eligible players exchanged their numbers. Both must submit numbers that they think their players are worth. A quick look at the transaction page tells you how many submitted numbers that weren’t very far away from each other, and therefore were able to come to terms prior to the deadline.
That doesn’t mean that everyone who submitted numbers will have to go to a hearing. Most still will not. But what this does is tell both sides exactly how the other values the player, and exactly what that side thinks they can prove in a hearing.
Remember, during arbitration, each side needs to just prove that the player is worth one penny more (or less if the team) than the mid-point in the numbers, by looking at comparable players and what their salaries are, and that side wins. The arbitrator doesn’t get to set the salary, he just chooses the number submitted that won the arbitration. So the numbers chosen are key, because they determine what the mid-point is. A really high number submitted by the agent will make the mid-point high enough that finding comparables that match will be difficult, unless you are dealing with very high-ceiling player who has already put up top 10% numbers.
Usually, only the top players get this far, because valuing a player like say Aroldis Chapman is difficult. The agent wants the guy to get the most value possible, while the team wants to keep the player at a reasonable and affordable cost to help keep their payroll in line.
Over the coming weeks, players that exchange numbers will still come to terms for a contract- some will sign long=term contracts, some will just complete a one-year contract and then have to go through this again next year. The arbitration hearings will happen about the third week of February if the the two sides don’t agree.