Brown: Who’s winning the MLB salary arbitration game? Here’s data from 1974 to 2005

From Maury Brown at on February 23, 2015:

Salary arbitration in Major League Baseball. It’s often not well understood by fans, but is arguably the most important gain that the MLB Players Association got from the owners in 1970 when Marvin Miller was their executive director. The idea was that if a player and owner could not agree on a salary for the upcoming season, impartial arbitrators would rule in favor of the player’s asking salary or the owner’s offered salary based on arguments that the sides would make in their favor based mostly on common statistics (in recent years with the advent of sabermetrics, these advanced analytics become more complicated to explain to the panel that are non-baseball people, and therefore used sparingly) and comparable salaries to other players, most often at the same position (corner outfielders can often be an exception).

The system was something Miller was keen to say was a key win over the owners. Eager to avoid having free agency enter their midst (that would come later), the owners grabbed onto salary arbitration as a lesser of two evils.

They soon found out that it was not without financial difficulty.

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Originally published: February 23, 2015. Last Updated: February 23, 2015.