For some who may not fully understand the arbitration process to set Major League Baseball salaries for players between three and six years of service time, Tuesday was an exciting day. For the rest of us, not so much.
146 MLB players filed for arbitration. It is simply a formality – the first step in a multi-step process intended to get these players’ 2014 salaries agreed-to before the season begins.
The 146 represent every eligible player, including the three Cardinals in that population – outfielders Peter Bourjos and Jon Jay and infielder Daniel Descalso. They would have absolutely no reason to not file.
The next step, coming Friday, is far more important. Players and teams will exchange their salary figures, with the player’s request always coming in higher, of course. This enables both sides to see where the other stands, with the logical next step of agreeing in the middle.
If player and team cannot come to an agreement, they will be scheduled for an arbitration hearing before a three-person panel to be held during the first three weeks of February. If it would get as far as an actual hearing, the arbiters would select either the team’s or player’s amount, with no compromise.
In reality, hearings are usually not required. The process is designed to drive agreement prior to that point. The last time the Cards went that far with a player was in 1999, though they have come close a couple of times since.
While there is nothing to stop the two sides from negotiating a multi-year agreement, I expect all three to settle for one-year contracts covering the 2014 season only. New arrival Bourjos has yet to establish himself with the Cardinals, while Jay and Descalso will likely play reserve roles.
In fact, I would not be surprised if deals with one or more of the three will be announced as soon as this weekend at Winter Warm-Up.