Free agent signings and trades are the sexy pieces of off-season strategy, but arbitration decisions have an important impact on the final roster. As the Reds begin to shape their 2012 roster, it’s important to know how the arbitration process works and to look at the arbitration decisions now confronting the organization.
Who is Eligible for Arbitration?
Two categories of players are eligible for the arbitration process – players under team control and impending free agents.
For the first six years of a player’s major league career they are under “team control” of the organization that drafts them. After six seasons they become free agents and can work for any organization they choose. For the last three years of the team control, arbitration can play an important role in determining the player’s salary.
For the first three years, the typical major league player earns the league minimum salary (2011: $414,000) after which they become “arbitration-eligible” for the remainder of t...