The current model for arbitration in baseball is, well, a little broken. Though the PA and the league made steps to improve the manner in which some players are classified when it comes to free agency, there is still room to improve the arb model as it relates to players salary.

The arbitrators love home runs and they love RBIs. This isn’t a bad thing as it puts money in the player’s pockets but, sometimes, it ends with odd rewards for odd achievements.

It’s all about timing, really. Colby Rasmus gets a big raise from his 2012 salary, up to $4.675 million from $2.7 mil after posting career highs in home runs and RBI, as the Blue Jays press release points out.

The thing about Rasmus in 2012 was he played, well, not so great. He made outs in buckets and looked generally awful outside the three good weeks after a swing change. His .297 wOBA is the lowest of his career but home runs and ribbies! Here’s a big fat raise – it’s the nature of the service time beast. Considering he received a $30 000 raise after putting up a .276/.361/.498 season with 23 home runs in his second full season, it all equals out.

Flawed or not, there is one thing we must always remember when considering arbitration raises: just don’t.

Comments (4)

  1. No mention of the role of service time and the relevance towards the arb process? Nothing mentioning the 40/60/80 rule?

    Cherry picking to make a process seem old and outdated.

    • Follow the last link in the piece. I don’t begrudge Rasmus his raise (though the process does weigh HR/RBI too heavily, everything else being equal)

      FINE, I added a little something as well, because you’re entirely right.

      • On another note, if the 40/60/80 rule is in relation to what the player would receive on the open market, do they update that to the $ being spent every year. I crunched some numbers and saw that Colby did get a raise above what proportion he would have received (by roughly 600k), which could be explained by a “higher price of rice” this year.

        • Matt Schwartz at MLBTR projected Rasmus for $4.5MM, which is a little higher than your numbers but still (slightly) under what he got. To me, that smaller difference makes up for the “higher price of rice” theory you mentioned.

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