Jay Gibbons & The Major League Minimum Salary

Jay Gibbons re-signed with the Dodgers today, on a one-year contract to likely occupy a bench role in 2011. The 33-year old emerged from baseball oblivion this year, coming back from a three-year major league absence to hit .280/.313/.507 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 37 games for the Dodgers, after getting called up by the Dodgers in August. Gibbons, who played college baseball at California State University, Los Angeles from 1996-98 after graduating from Mayfair High School in Lakewood, is back for one more season with his hometown team.

What we do know is that Gibbons' deal is for one year, and includes incentives. Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reported the value at $650,000, plus $150,000 in incentives. However, both Tony Jackson of ESPN LA and the now-beardless Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times reported the base salary at the major league minimum of $400,000, plus a cost of living adjustment.

That cost of living adjustment is due to the MLB collective bargaining agreement. From Article VI, Paragraph B(1):

The minimum rate of payment to a Player for each day of service on a Major League Club shall be as follows: ...at the 2010 rate per season plus a cost of living adjustment, rounded to the nearest $500, provided that the cost of living adjustment shall not reduce the minimum salary below $400,000.

From Article VI, Paragraph B(4):

Cost of living adjustments for the Major League minimum salary described above in paragraph (1) shall be computed as follows:

To determine the 2011 salary rate, $400,000 shall be multiplied by a fraction, the numerator of which is the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (CPIW) for November 2010 and the denominator of which is the CPIW for November 2008.

We won't know what the cost of living adjustment will be for another month or so, but we have data through September 2010 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

November 2008: 214.306

September 2010: 207.296

That would make the 2011 minimum salary $400,000 x 214.306 / 207.296 = $413,527, or rounded to the nearest $500, $413,500.

Whatever Gibbons' salary is, I'm sure the details will clear themselves up within a day or so.

UPDATE: Hernandez tweeted Thursday night that Gibbons' deal is for $650,000 with $150,000 in incentives, matching Gurnick's report.

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