What to know about exchanged arbitration figures.

The deadline has passed for arbitration-eligible players to agree to terms for 2015 without exchanging numbers for a potential arbitration hearing. All totaled, 54 players were unable to get deals done.

There is an important factor to understanding the arbitration figures that have been exchanged. The player’€™s submitted figure is more than he is actually worth and the team’€™s submitted figure is less than the player’s worth. Somewhere around the midpoint of the two numbers is where a player’€™s actual value lies. If a player goes to a hearing, and only a few will, that is the number that is debated, whether or not he is truly worth more or less than the midpoint. Remember in baseball arbitration you either win, and get the higher number, or lose, and get the lower figure.

The strategy that is played by agents and teams is trying to submit the right number. Lots of comparisons of similar past players is done as well as the agents giving their best guesses on what number the team will submit and vice versa. In the end each party is trying to end up with a midpoint that works in their favor.

For the many players that do settle before going to a hearing, you will notice that they almost always settle at or just below the midpoint. The thinking there for teams is if they can’t agree with a player below the midpoint they might as well roll the dice in a hearing. Remember each player’€™s salary affects future salaries and both MLB and MLBPA work hard to get salaries that are beneficial to their respective side of the game.

Some interesting filings from yesterday that caught my eye, mostly because of the spread and potential winability in a hearing for the player. 

Player Team Player Bid Team Bid Spread Midpoint
Steve Pearce Orioles $5.4M $2.0M $3.4M $3.7M
Zach Britton Orioles $4.2M $2.2M $2.0M $3.2M
Bud Norris Orioles $10.25M $7.5M $2.75M $8.875M
Dexter Fowler Astros $10.8M $8.5M $2.3M $9.65M
Greg Holland Royals $9.0M $6.65M $2.35M $7.825M

There will be a couple of actual hearings at the most, those could come from this group. 

I went to a hearing in 2000. Next week I’ll take you through the details of the process before, during and after.