Keith Law on the Arbitration Process
"First off, there’s a lot of bad information out there about the arbitration process in baseball, and one error I have seen, heard, and been asked about repeatedly is how multiyear contracts factor into the process. The answer is that they don’t. Because of the disagreement over whether to consider AAV (average annual values) or actual year-by-year salaries, and the question of what sort of "security" discount the player might have taken, these contracts are usually ignored or discarded after cursory arguments in any arbitration negotiation or hearing. So the second year of Prince Fielder’s deal does not affect Ryan Howard’s hearing. (How could it? You can’t compare Howard’s "platform year" to Fielder’s, because the comparable season for Fielder - second time through the arb process - hasn’t occurred yet.)" It's always great when someone with experience on the inside -- Keith Law used to work in the Blue Jays' front office -- sheds some light on the arbitration process. In this case, some of my articles about the Dodgers' arbitration-eligible players must now be viewed with a grain of salt as some of the comps I used were multi-year deals. I'm just glad this clears everything up for future use, and will certainly help us understand the Andre Ethier situation.