Nearly 150 players filed for salary arbitration Tuesday, setting in motion a process that begins Friday when players exchange proposals with teams for one-year contracts.
A reminder of how salary arbitration works:
Eligible players are generally those with at least three years of Major League service but less than the six needed to qualify for free agency, though a select group of players with between two and three years of service also qualify, as "Super Twos."
These eligible players are still under team control, but unlike players with fewer than three years of service, whose salaries are set by the teams, arbitration-eligible players are paid relative to similar players in terms of performance and service time as governed by Article VI of MLB's Basic Agreement. Among the considerations are a player's performance in his most recent -- or "platform" -- season, the length and consistency of his career contribution, his "leadership and public appeal" and the recent performance of the team. Representatives from both sides seek to establish comparable players to support their proposals.
This year and for the next three years, players formally file for arbitration on a Tuesday and exchange proposed figures on Friday. The parties then continue negotiating until the date of an arbitration hearing, which are scheduled for Feb. 1-21. In the vast majority of cases, the sides avoid a hearing with a settlement near the midpoint of figures.
But if a case goes all the way to a hearing, each side presents its case to a three-member panel of judges. The player attends, so teams often hire outside counsel to argue its case in an attempt to soften any hard feelings.
The judges weigh the evidence and, 24 hours later, chose one salary proposal or the other. They do not have to explain the decision.