Arbitration Headline MLB Players MLB Teams

It’s The Most Wonderful Salary Arbitration Time Of The Year

Cole HamelsRight 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.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.