June 12, 2021

MLB’s Sticky Service Time Situation (FanGraphs)


While the long-term financial implications of a pandemic for baseball players and owners might not be top of mind for many of us right now, discussions between players and owners on the myriad issues resulting from the season’s delay are taking place right now, and those discussions will have considerable effects on the sport’s future. Last week, among reports of the league potentially skipping June’s amateur draft, service time emerged as the most significant potential baseball issue resulting from COVID-19, particularly if the 2020 season is lost.

The problem is not a simple one, as players generally receive service time for being on a major league roster, with the resulting time accrued inching players closer to larger salaries in the form of arbitration and, eventually, free agency. If a partial season is played, some sort of service time pro-ration based on the actual number of days in a season seems likely. If the season goes 100 days instead of 186, starting every player who sees major league time with 86 days is another potential compromise. Likewise, salaries don’t seem to be a big issue, per Jon Heyman, with pro-ration also likely in that case. But what…

Read “MLB’s Sticky Service Time Situation” at FanGraphs