June 23, 2021

The Free Agent Salary Dominoes (FanGraphs)


As baseball adjusts to the realities of the novel coronavirus, many decisions concerning the upcoming season loom. Yesterday, my colleague Craig Edwards discussed the service time issues likely to bedevil the sport’s return to normalcy, whenever that (hopefully) occurs. It’s nearly impossible to underrate how big of a kerfuffle this could cause. Service time is one of the most significant drivers of how a large percentage of baseball’s revenue pot ends up being divvied out. This ain’t a pot of delicious chili, but one that amounted to nearly $11 billion in 2019. Players and teams have a lot invested in this fight. For teams, those cost-controlled years mean massive profits. For players, accruing service time is essential to moving up the incline from pennies to cash windfall they might enjoy in free agency.

If, in the worst-case scenario, the 2020 season isn’t played at all, baseball will be in uncharted waters. This year’s revenue won’t be coming back, and the negotiations between owners and the union are, for all practical reasons, a hashing-out of who takes the biggest economic hit for that year of missing dollars. If they prove to be unsuccessful at…

Read “The Free Agent Salary Dominoes” at FanGraphs