Salary Arbitration in Baseball An Impartial Assessment After Ten Years - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 41, No. 1
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
The scorecard after ten years reads 104 victories for the clubs and 86 victories for the players. It hardly seems possible, but the 13 salary arbitration decisions handed down in early 1985 brought the total number of cases decided by arbitrators to 190. Over a ten-year period, that averages out to 19 cases per year.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Ray Grebey, former Executive Director of the Player Relations Committee, Inc., representing the 26 Major League Baseball clubs, has written that
". . . there is evidence that club management attitudes have chilled and turned fo overt concern and criticism of baseball's salary arbitration process,"' Specific criticisms include the fact that the process has become too adversarial and technical and that players/agents fully exploif fhe "no-lose"
economic potential of salary arbitration.
As one might expect, Marvin Miller, former Executive Director of fhe Major League Baseball Players Association, takes quite a different view of the salary arbitration procedure. He noted that "the prior system of salary determination by management fiat, enforced by a writfen and published blacklist of players who resisted, was so arbitrary, unfair, inequitable and self-serving that one would have been hard put to institute a new system that did not represent a dramatic improvement."
Now that the two advocates have made fheir respective cases for and against the salary arbitration process, the time is ripe for an impartial assessment of the workings of final-offer salary arbitration in baseball.
Prior to 1974, player salary determinations were essentially made by the management of each club. Of course, players had some input into this decision-making process. They could make demands, threaten to hold out, play in another country, or retire and pursue other occupations. But the key point to remember is that if they wanted to play Major League Baseball, they were essentially bound to deal with one and only one team.