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As MLB Salary Arbitration Set to Begin, Detailed Report Shines Light on Process PDF Print E-mail
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Salary Arbitration
Written by Maury Brown and Joe Tetreault   
Monday, 08 November 2010 00:00
Giants arb report
What Giants players were in the last
salary arbitration class? What about
the 29 other clubs? Here's a detailed
report breaking it all down.
(Select image to see report - PDF)

UPDATE: Corrected Tampa Bay Rays table to reflect Matt Garza figure exchange, added table for salary arb by date chart in the appendix of the report.

Salary arbitration in Major League Baseball is a case of comparisons. Looking at one player’s stats, his Major League Service Time, as how it relates to other player “comps” is, in a nutshell, how the process functions.

The salaries derived out of the system are also highly important. Players that are comparable from one player to another compared by service time and like player position and their stats drives what one is likely to make.

So, as we get ready to enter another year of salary arbitration in MLB, looking back to the last class of players is key to what the players entering the upcoming class will wind up getting in salary in the 2011 season.

Here’s the “vital stats” for the last salary arbitration class of players

  • Number of players that filed: 128 on 1/14/10
  • Number of players exchanged figures with their clubs: 44 on the 1/19/09 deadline
  • Amount in salaries for all 128 players for ’10: $353,637,502
  • Amount in salaries for all 128 players (includes multi-year contracts) who signed in 2010: $660,077,502
  • % of ’09 salary for the 46 players that exchanged figures against total: $151,522,502 or 46% of the total
  • Total 2009 salaries for the 128 players that filed in 2010: $175,311,432
  • Increase in salary from 2009 to 2010 for the 128 players that filed: 102%
  • Total salaries for 46 players that exchanged figures in 2009: $136,275,000
  • Avg. salary for the 46 players that exchanged figures in ’09: $3,011,638
  • Avg. salary for the 44 that exchanged figures in ’10: $3,443,693
  • Difference between avg. salary for exchange players from ’09-’10: $432,055 (an increase of 14 percent from the year prior)
  • Of the 44 that exchanged figures, # of those reached mid-point deals: 8
  • Number of mid-point contracts in 2009: 12
  • Of the 128 in '10, number of multi-year contracts: 24
  • Biggest contract in this year’s class: Justin Verlander of the Tigers (5-years, $80 million)
  • Still the best: Though many thought two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum was a lock to top Ryan Howard’s first year arbitration eligible record award of $10 million in 2008. Despite a mid-point north of $10 million (The Giants offered $8 million, to Lincecum’s asking point of $13 million when the two exchanged figures), the deal brokered between the parties only paid Lincecum $8 million in 2010, with Lincecum getting $13 million in 2011. The deal included a $2 million signing bonus, which merely means that the Giants can say they didn’t pay Lincecum a record deal in his first year of eligibility and Lincecum’s agent Rick Thurman can counter that he got his client $10 million in compensation for 2010 (salary plus bonus) with incentives that could still make the deal more lucrative. Lincecum does however shatter Jonathan Papelbon's record set in 2009 for the biggest ever by any first-time eligible pitcher – starter or reliever – when he got a $6.25 million deal from the Red Sox.
  • Arbitration hearings (1): Of the 44 players that exchanged salary figures, eight cases were ruled on by arbitration panels, more than double the three cases from 2009 when Shawn Hill, Dan Uggla, and Dioner Navarro had decisions rendered. In 2010, the owners topped the players 5 to 3 in hearing, with SS Ryan Teriot of the Cubs, SP Wandy Rodriguez of the Astros, CF B.J. Upton of the Rays and both RPs Brian Bruney and Sean Burnett of the Nationals losing their cases. OF Cody Ross of the Marlins, C Jeff Mathis of the Angels and OF Corey Hart of the Brewers prevailed in hearings.
  • Arbitration hearings (2): 2010 was significantly better for the owners than 2009, when they had a losing record in the three cases that went all the way to the arbitration panel.
  • Historical Hearing Record: Of the 495 salary arbitration cases that have been heard since the process was collectively bargained into MLB in 1974, owners have won 285 (57.6%) to the players' 210 (42.4%) cases heard.


The detailed report created captures salary details for every player in the last class of salary arb players. The detailed report provides the following:

  • Each player in salary arbitration broken out by the club they were with at the time
  • Their major league service time
  • Their position
  • Their 2009 salary
  • The date they landed salary through the salary arb system
  • Their 2010 salary
  • The contract length reached
  • Total salary based upon years in the contract
  • The how much of a raise they received from 2009 to 2010
  • Details around the player’s performance, bonuses, etc.
  • Players that exchanged salary arbitration figures
  • The players that settled on contracts with their club before the filing deadline
  • Where applicable details around asking and offering figures for those players that exchanged salary numbers
  • Totals for each club showing how many players were eligible, number that filed, number that exchanged
  • Total by club showing the number of multi-year agreements reached
  • Total by club showing the number of mid-point deals reached, how many were above or below the mid-point
  • The amount of money saved or lost by a club by reaching deals above or below the mid-point
  • Total salaries by club spent in 2010 through the arb process
  • Total salaries by club spent in 2010 and any multi-year contracts reached through the arb process
  • Link to player stats by club for 2009 and 2010

Along with this, there is:

  • A table outlining arbitration hearing totals won or lost by each club dating back to 1974
  • A chart showing the total number of salary arbitration signings in the last 2010 cycle.
2010 Arb report
Select the image above to see a detailed
report on salary arbitration for each of the
30 clubs in MLB -  PDF

Copyright © 2010 – Bizball LLC

Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Follow Maury Brown on Twitter Twitter

Joe TetreaultJoe Tetreault is Managing Editor of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball

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