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Old 02-25-2007, 09:39 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2004
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Originally Posted by Big Guy View Post
I, among others, have been getting fired up about possibly losing Holiday and others like Atkins to free agency in the near future as their contracts expire. I know Holiday signed only a one year deal. I heard O'Dowd say on the radio today that fear of losing them is unfounded as it is 4 years till Atkins and 3 years till Holiday can become free agents. Can someone explain baseball free agency rules?
From Wikipedia's MLB Transactions entry.
Free agency and salary arbitration

If a player is drafted and is offered a contract by his drafting team (or any team he is traded to) each year, he may not become a free agent until he has been on a major league roster or disabled list for at least six years. Otherwise, any player without a contract may become a free agent and sign with any team.

A player is eligible for salary arbitration if he:

1. is ineligible for free agency
2. is without a contract
3. cannot agree with his current team on a new contract
4. has been on a major league roster or disabled list for at least three years

In this process, the player and the team both submit a salary offer for a new contract; the arbitrator chooses one number or the other, whichever is thought to be most "fair" given comparable wages among players with similar ability and service time. Players thus rely on arbitration and free agency to increase their salaries.

Players eligible for neither free agency nor salary arbitration are very seldom offered contracts for much more than the league minimum salary, as the player has no recourse to try to obtain a better salary elsewhere. For this reason, in the first three major league years of their careers, players accept comparatively low salaries even when their performance is stellar. This is an accepted practice; talented, young players are usually content to "pay their dues" in this way and earn a chance to negotiate for more in their fourth year. Occasionally, a team may wish to sign a player in their second or third year to a long-term contract, for which negotiation can take place for a much higher salary.
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