In many ways, baseball’s salary structure has been designed to reward playing time almost as much as actual talent. For the first three years at the Major League level, a baseball player’s income is determined by the baseball club for which he plays. Typically, a player will make the league minimum in his first season, and then receive small raises in each of his next two season, which will lead him into his first year of arbitration eligibility.
As part of the new collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ union, the league minimum that a baseball team can pay a player has risen from $414,000 to $480,000.
As a result of this somewhat insignificant raise, at least in comparison to the rising costs of free agent contracts, the Miami Marlins have made known their intentions to automatically renew the contracts of all their players with service time of less than three years at the new minimum. There will be no raises handed out in the second or third year of a Marlins’ player’s career.
According to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOX Sports:
With 0-to-3s, the Marlins use the same type of scale as most clubs, rewarding those who contribute most. But according to sources, they are starting the scale with the old minimum rather than the new, reasoning that players will jump at least $66,000 anyway. If the scale determines that a player merits a jump from the old minimum of $414,000 to say, $460,000, the Marlins will simply pay him the new minimum of $480,000, sources say.
Right. This should go over well with the nine players on the current roster with at least one or two years of service.
It’s expected that the MLBPA will be receiving a call in the not too distant future, but even without the union’s involvement, it’s not exactly a clear win for the Marlins bean counters in the long run.
According to Cody Ross, who won $4.45 million in arbitration when he took the Marlins to a hearing in 2010, players that get jerked around during their first three seasons are more likely to seek an arbitration hearing against their club when they become eligible, and end up costing the team far more than if they just gave them the raise that they were due.
That’s one of the main reasons I went to a hearing against them in my second year of arb. I never forgot about them not giving me a raise ever as a 0-to-3 player. I didn’t think it was fair for me to make the same as a guy who comes up from minor league camp and makes the team.
. . . and just when you thought that Jeffrey Loria and the Florida Marlins front office couldn’t become any less likeable.
Perhaps the these guys wouldn’t be the worst owners in the world after all.