Roster Notes and Rules
- The MLB minimum for 2018 was $545,000 and jumps to $555,000 in 2019. If a player makes the 25-man roster, that is the lowest salary a club can dictate for a player, not including prorated bonuses.
- Typically, club controlled contracts after Year 1 (TC) are slightly above the league minimum, depending on how far beyond the first year of experience the player is in service time. First-year players on club controlled contracts almost exclusively start at the league minimum, except when secured by a multi-year contract. Second-year players typically get small bumps in pay, and third-year players get a decent increase from their second-year salary. ‘Second-year player’ generally means a player that now has one full year or more of service time, but less than two. Generally, pre-arbitration contracts remain within $500,000 or so of the minimum, with relatively rare exceptions.
- A club may not renew a contract at a salary less than 80 percent of the player’s salary and performance bonuses the previous year or less than 70 percent of his salary and performance bonuses from two years earlier.
- Arbitration remains the same as with previous CBAs; players who have at least three, but fewer than six seasons of service time qualify for arbitration, which greatly increases salaries on a year-to-year basis. The one exception for arbitration qualification is Super Two status. A player with less than three years of service time but more than two years, including at least 86 days of service the prior season, and is among the top 22 percent of such players in service time accrued, shall also be eligible for arbitration. That number for the 2018-19 offseason was two years, 134 days, which will read in new media as 2.134.
- Arbitration salaries, once assigned, do not become fully guaranteed until the regular season begins for his club. If the player is cut before the 16th day prior to the season beginning, he is entitled only to 30 days termination pay, which is just over 17 percent of the arbitration salary assigned. If the player is cut during Spring Training, but after the 16th day before the season begins, he is entitled to 45 days’ termination pay, which is just over 26 percent of his arbitration salary.
- The most service time that can be accrued in one season is 172 days.
- A player earns such service time even if placed on the 15-day or 60-day disabled list, or if he’s suspended. Players do not accrue MLB service time if on a minor league disabled list or if suspended while in the minor leagues.
- The below salary totals do not include incentives, buyouts or bonuses. Only salary that is 100 percent guaranteed is listed, with the exception of arbitration projections, noted with A next to the salary, and salaries that become guaranteed if roster spot is earned.
- Options is a term often misunderstood by fans and even some media members. Options represent option years, not total times sent from the 25-man roster, often called the ‘Active Roster,’ to the minors. Once a player is placed on the 40-man roster, in order to assign that player to the minors the team uses one of three available options. During that season, the player can be called up and sent down as many times as the club wishes and it burns just the one option. Only one option can be burned during any one season. Spring training options count the same as options during the regular season, since the ‘Championship Season’ begins once that club’s Spring Training camp officially opens (mandatory full-squad report date).
- A player may be eligible for the rare fourth option year if he has been optioned in three seasons but does not yet have five full seasons of professional experience. A full season is defined as being on an active pro roster for at least 90 days in a season. If a player is placed on the disabled list after earning 60 or more days of service in a single season, his time on the disabled is counted. Because the requirement is 90 days, short-season assignments do not accrue enough time.
- If a player is optioned but spends less than 20 days in the minors before being recalled, an option is not burned. During the regular season, once a player is optioned to the minors, he cannot be recalled for at least 10 days unless it’s to replace a player placed on the 15-day or 60-day disabled list.
- Players with five years or more of service time cannot be assigned to the minors without consent. If consent is not given, the player is afforded his release and becomes a free agent.
- Players on the 10-day disabled list remain on a club’s 40-man roster; players placed on the 60-day disabled list are off the 40-man until activated.
- Below are the guaranteed salary figures for the Seattle Mariners over the next three seasons. Players listed are currently on the club’s 40-man roster. Subject to change daily.
- Mike Leake‘s 2019 and 2020 salaries are subsidized by cash the Mariners received from the St. Louis Cardinals. The right-hander will make $16 million in 2019 and $15 million in 2020, but the Mariners are only on the hook for $11 million each of those seasons, plus the $5 million buyout of Leake’s $18 million optionf or 2021. It’s worth noting Leake has full no-trade rights per the contract he signed with the Cardinals three years ago.
- The Mariners have additional cash coming in for 2019: $5m from TBR in the Santana-Encarnacion-Bauers-Diaz trade.
- Seattle has additional cash going out for 2019: $5m of the $20m heading to the Mets in the Cano trade. They will pay NYM $3.75m per season 2020-2023; $2m of the $6m sent to CLE in the Santana-Encarnacion swap is due in 2019. $4m will be paid in 2020.
- The Mariners have $56,557,143 committed to the starting rotation for 2019. For the purposes of this payroll update, Roenis Elias is considered a reliever.
- The Mariners have $11,420,000 committed to the bullpen.
- The Mariners have $56,216,666 committed to infielders, including Dee Gordon, Edwin Encarnacion and the newly-signed Tim Beckham.
- The Mariners have $1,950,000 committed to outfielders for 2019 — all of that is headed for the bank account of Domingo Santana. Barring a pre-arbitration multi-year extension, Mitch Haniger will earn a team-controlled salary for 2019. Haniger and CF Mallex Smith will hit arbitration status after 2019.
- The Mariners do not have a single dollar committed to catchers for 2019. Omar Narvaez and David Freitas, the club’s lone catchers on the 40-man roster at press time, are both under team-controlled contracts for 2019.
- This info is kept up to date twice-monthly during the calendar year and can be found here, via the menu below the site banner.
- The above info was gathered through simple math, deduction, plus a full reading of the current CBA, which I encourage everyone to do at least once.
- The below update data was compiled via info gathered by and courtesy of Cot’s Contracts, Spotrac.com and occasionally various media reports and other sources.
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Jason A. Churchill
Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 and spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio. He now serves as the Executive Copy Editor at Data Skrive, a tech company that manipulates data to provide automated content to clients including the AP, BetMGM, USA Today, and ESPN. Find Jason's baseball podcast, Baseball Things, right here.
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