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Monday, December 15, 2003

Salary Arbitration

Nice piece on salary arbitration in MLB. Interesting that players have lost a growing number of cases:

Period Cases/Decided Player Win%
1974-1980 212/92       47.8%
1981-1993 1564/267     43.4%
1994-2002 725/87       36.8%

Why might this be? Certainly, the fewer cases that make it to arbitration represent only those where the two parties are far apart. One might guess that in many of those cases the player is asking for a salary commensurate with a recent block-buster free agent signing, which the arbitrators don't consider realistic. Are there better reasons?

Also, there have been a decreasing number of cases making it to a hearing. This probably shows a stabilization of the process whereby players and owners know what to expect and since the winning percentage of either side is not that high, they would rather compromise than take the risk of losing.

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