Phillies Sign Bruntlett, Avoid Arbitration

The Phillies stayed away from arbitration with infielder Eric Bruntlett, inking him to a one-year, $600K deal. There are incentives attached.

  • This is a good time to explain “arbitration.” It sounds like such a foreign thing, but it’s really quite simple:

    A player is under contract of the franchise for his first three Major League seasons. The contract he signed is the money he earns, no ifs, ands or buts (unless a raise is given, of course).

    After three years, a player becomes “arbitration eligible.” This means after the World Series, the franchise can offer the player a raised amount for the following year. The player may have a counter offer higher to the franchise’s. If the two sides disagree, an arbitration hearing is set. Before then, three things can happen:

    – Franchise and player negotiate an amount in the middle. The player signs a 1-year deal for that amount, and will be arbitration eligible again.

    – Franchise and player agree to long-term deal that goes beyond arbitration years. A player is no longer arbitration eligible after six years of service.

    – Nothing.

    If nothing, the franchise and player go into a hearing, where an arbitrator (someone outside of the situation), decides to either side with the franchise or the player. There is no negotiated amount.

    There’s also the “Super-Two” player. explains:

    “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 17 percent in total service in the class of Players who have at least two but less than three years of Major League service, however accumulated, but with at least 86 days of service accumulated during the immediately preceding season.”

    Basically, a Super-Two is a guy is someone who may have played a little in one year, then full seasons in the next two, like Ryan Howard.

Bruntlett, who has limited offensive skills but can play strong defense, will likely serve a utility role, much in the same way that Tomas Perez in the past was used (and Abraham Nunez, sans starting half the season).

The fact the Phils reached an agreement at $600K shows they were able to negotiate a deal in the middle, even though it’s closer to the Phils offer of $550K. Will that be the same for Ryan Howard, who is still waiting for $10M while the Phils stand at $7M?

Also, pitcher Anderson Garcia was designated for assignment (taken off the 40-man roster) to make room for new third baseman Pedro Feliz. Nothing newsworthy there.

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