Right now, we are right in the thick of the MLB salary arbitration filing period, which will last until January 15. During this time, players with three to five years of major league experience (there is an exception for certain players with two years experience – “Super Twos”) can file with the hope that a panel of arbitrators will grant them a pay raise. Last year, Ryan Howard tied a record with his arbitration award of $10 million. For every Ryan Howard, there are more players who submit high numbers that end up taking much less than desired. Baseball’s system is final-offer arbitration, which means that the arbitration panel must select either the player’s suggestion or the team’s proposal. There is no in-between.
Most players who will file by January 15 will probably never have their case go to arbitration. Often times, both the player and his organization settle before the February hearings. MLB teams have a solid record compared to the professional athletes. Thus, many times, an athlete’s advisor will push the player for a settlement. But this is not always the case.
It is likely that Ryan Howard will once again test the arbitration waters. He may also have fellow teammate, Cole Hamels, join him in hoping that a panel of arbitrators gives him a nice New Years present. There is no doubt that Hamels is undervalued at $500,000 for a season, but just how much is Hamels worth? Eight Phillies, in total, are eligible for arbitration. It looks like the arbitrators may be flooded by Phillies cases alone. I hope that Philly’s General Counsel, Bill Webb, enjoyed the Holidays, because he sure does have his work cut out for him this month.