Baseball Articles

Time to End Super 2 Nonsense

During the broadcast of Saturday’s Mets-Marlins game, Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez had a long discussion about why Zack Wheeler was not brought up to replace an ailing Jonathon Niese for that day’s start. They touched on many reasons, but I was shocked that they were even having the conversation at all. It is all about his Super 2 status. And you know that’s true because Sandy Alderson insists it is not. Either way, it is time to end this Super 2 and free agency clock nonsense once and for all. The solution is rather simple.

The current rules are a bit convoluted, so I will explain. A player can be a free agent after gaining six years of service time in the majors. A year of service time is defined as being on the major league roster for 172 days.

A player is eligible for arbitration after three years in the majors. However, there is this “Super 2” status, which is defined on the MLB website thusly:

A player with at least two but less than three years of Major League service shall be eligible for salary arbitration if he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season and he ranks in the top 22 percent… in total service in the class of Players who have at least two but less than three years of Major League service.

Got it?

Teams are very good about getting around these rules and depriving players of a year of service. A major league season is around 185 days, so if a player is kept in the minors for the first couple of weeks of the season, he will not get a year of service. His free agency would be delayed by a year, but he would eventually be a Super 2 (think Ike Davis, who was brought up at the end of April 2010).

As far as the Super 2, teams often bring up players mid-season after the deadline passes, which is usually around June 15 (think Matt Harvey, who was brought up last July 26, far beyond the Super 2 deadline).

Despite their protestations to the contrary, the Mets are determined to deny Wheeler an extra year of arbitration. Consider this: Davis is making $3 million this season. If he was not a Super 2, he would probably be making around $750,000, if that much. There is a lot of money at stake for the clubs.

But it also is screwing with the players’ careers, and that is not fair. The simple solution is to change what constitutes a year of service time and just do away with the Super 2 altogether.

I propose that a year of service time should be awarded if a player is on the 25-man roster for more than 30 days (not including a September call-up) in a season. I picked this number deliberately because a team should be allowed to recall a player twice to fill in for injured players on the 15-day disabled list without being penalized.

This way, if a team thinks a player is ready, he can start the season with the big club instead of biding his time in the minors until these deadlines pass.

The players union would surely go for this, but the teams likely would not. They should, though, because they might benefit.

The Angels did this with Mike Trout last season, bringing him up in late April. The Angels got off to a horrible start and took off after Trout was added to the lineup. They eventually missed the playoffs by four games. Perhaps if Trout started the season with the team, they would have won those four games. This will allow teams to field their best teams at the beginning of the season without worrying about starting these clocks.

Now, teams will certainly manipulate this as well, bringing up some players in the first week of August. But for a player who is truly ready, and a team that is truly trying to win, August is just to late.

This idea is just common sense. So of course, MLB would never go for it.

7 thoughts on “Time to End Super 2 Nonsense

  • The Super 2 is even more than a one-year ordeal. It’s not even about what Zack Wheeler’s salary will be next year, but also in the future. Super 2 players cost their team an average of $12 million more over their time on arbitration. It’s a big deal. And if your player is a star, it can get very expensive.
    I like the motive behind the idea, but I’m not so sure how it would effect other rules that use service time like players declining minor league assignments, no trade clauses, etc.

  • AnakinCorleone

    It also forces whoever wins Rookie of the Year to legitimately produce for a full season to earn that award.

  • Pingback: Time for MLB to end the Super 2 Nonesense | Metsblog

  • ExileInLA

    Super Two was a compromise between MLB and the Union re timing of arbitration. What are you taking away from the MLBPA in exchange for this HUGE gift?

  • William Kelley

    Frankly bringing Wheeler up at the start of season or June 18th would not effect the team’s performance. Of the starting 8 you have 2 major leaguers. The rest of the position players would at best be bench players on any other team. Now Duda might be a 3rd if he played 1B but not as an OF. Davis is a clone of Adam Dunn or Carlos Pena. You can have the best starting pitching in the league but you still need 8 decent position players to field and score runs. The Mets have 2. How can you win?

  • The Super 2 rules are collectively bargained so it hard to argue that it’s unfair. The owners have every right to control costs in this manner just as the players have every right to sign for every dollar they can get as free agents.
    As for Wheeler, I think the Mets are smart to hold him back until the deadline passes. What’s the sense in bringing him up now when the season is already irrelevant? Hopefully, the Mets will be relevant again in a few years and the money saved by holding Wheeler back a few starts can be spent elsewhere.

  • Pingback: My Beloved Mets – Time for MLB to end the Super 2 Nonesense

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Why ask?