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The File-And-Trial Arbitration Teams Sign Their Players

119 MLB players filed for salary arbitration.  The deadline for players and teams to exchange salary figures leading up to a possible hearing has officially past.  The 3 teams known for implementing a file-and-trial strategy (exchange salary figures and we are going to a hearing, no matter what), have all avoided a potential arbitration hearing.

The Chicago White Sox signed their 3 players:

  • John Danks signed a 1-year, $6,000,000 deal.
  • Tony Pena signed a 1-year, $1,600,000 deal.
  • Carlos Quentin signed a 1-year, $5,050,000 deal.

The Florida Marlins signed their 6 players:

  • Burke Badenhop signed a 1-year, $750,000 deal.
  • Clay Hensley signed a 1-year, $1,400,000 deal.
  • Edward Mujica signed a 1-year, $800,000 deal.
  • Ricky Nolasco signed a 3-year, $26,500,000 deal.
  • Leo Nunez signed a 1-year, $3,650,000 deal.
  • Anibal Sanchez signed a 1-year, $3,700,000 deal.

The Tampa Bay Rays signed their 3 players:

  • Dan Johnson signed a 1-year, $1,000,000 deal.
  • Andy Sonnanstine signed a 1-year, $912,500 deal.
  • B.J. Upton signed a 1-year, $4,825,000 deal.

Does this tell us that the file-and-trial strategy is an excellent deterrent to drawn out negotiations between team and player?  There are still plenty of teams and agents who will negotiate right up to the day of players’ scheduled arbitration hearings.  The White Sox, Marlins, and Rays do not have to spend resources and time building up their cases in anticipation of a hearing.  My most recent count tells me that over 30 players are currently headed on the path towards a hearing.  While we know that a majority of these cases will settle, time is money!

My guy to watch = Josh Hamilton.  His salary figure is $12,000,000.  The Texas Rangers submitted a figure of $8,700,000.  Since Major League Baseball uses a final offer arbitration system, should the case go to a hearing, the arbitrators would have to pick one number or the other – no middle ground.

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.