Carleton: Fixing the service-time manipulation problem

From Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus on September 19, 2018:

On April 17, 2015, Kris Bryant made his MLB debut for the Cubs. Bryant had a rough game that day, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, but over the next few months, he made up for it. Bryant made the All-Star team, won Rookie of the Year, got a few down-ballot MVP votes, and finished with a .275/.369/.488 line for the year. And 171 days of service time on the roster.

A full year on a major-league roster consists of 172 days, which means that at the end of the 2020 season, Bryant will have five years and 171 days of MLB service, leaving him one day short of the six years that he would need to file for free agency. He’ll still be eligible for arbitration, and given that he’ll probably receive a paycheck with a lot of zeroes on it that year, it’s hard to feel too bad for him, but he’ll have to play out the 2021 season before he’s eligible for the free market.

It’s something of an open secret as to why this happened.

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Originally published: September 19, 2018. Last Updated: September 19, 2018.