If you are a baseball fan, you might have heard the term « tendering a contract » being used around this time of the year. As teams prepare for the upcoming season, they have to decide which players they want to keep and which ones they want to let go. Tendering a contract is a crucial part of this process, but what does it actually mean?
In baseball, a contract is a legally binding agreement between a player and a team, which outlines the terms of the player`s employment. Every year, teams have to decide whether to offer a contract to each of their arbitration-eligible players. These are players who have played for at least three years in the major leagues and don`t have a long-term contract in place. If a team decides to tender a contract to a player, it means that they are offering him a one-year deal, which will be negotiated through the arbitration process.
The arbitration process is a way to resolve salary disputes between players and teams. It is mandated by the collective bargaining agreement between the players` union and the league. During arbitration, the player and the team each submit a salary figure to a neutral third-party arbitrator, who then decides which figure is more appropriate based on the player`s performance, market value, and other factors. The player`s salary for the upcoming season is then determined by the arbitrator`s decision.
If a team decides not to tender a contract to a player, that player becomes a free agent and is free to sign with any team. This usually happens when a team feels that the player`s performance is not worth the salary he would command in arbitration. Tendering a contract to a player is, therefore, a way for a team to keep a player under control for another year without committing to a long-term deal.
In addition to arbitration-eligible players, teams also have to decide whether to tender a contract to their pre-arbitration players. These are players who have not yet been in the league for three years and don`t have the right to negotiate their salary through arbitration. For pre-arbitration players, teams can simply offer them a salary for the upcoming season, usually at or near the league minimum salary.
In conclusion, tendering a contract in baseball means offering a player a one-year deal through the arbitration process. It is a way for teams to keep their arbitration-eligible players under control for another year without committing to a long-term deal. If a team chooses not to tender a contract, the player becomes a free agent and is free to sign with any team. As teams prepare for the upcoming season, tendering a contract is a crucial part of the roster-building process.