Saunders just misses Super Two contract status
The “Super Two” process can be a confusing issue, but suffice it to say, Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders wound up in a tough-luck situation Tuesday when MLB announced its status of Super Two arbitratation eligible players this offseason.
Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the top 22 percent of players between two and three years of service time get to enter the arbitration process a year earlier than the normal three-year time span.
The Associated Press reported that calculation was announced Tuesday at 2 years, plus 139 days, which allowed 26 players to be moved into salary arbitration early.
As for Saunders? He missed the cutoff by one day.
That means Saunders will remain at the Major League minimum next year, which puts him around $490,000, rather than being eligible to see what he could get in arbitration. Like the rest of MLB’s players with three or less years of service time, he’ll become arbitration eligible next season and be in that process another three years before becoming a free agent.
How much did that one day cost Saunders? Hard telling. But last year, reliever Shawn Kelley earned Super Two status and he signed for $600,000 while coming off a season in which he’d only just returned to full strength in the final month following Tommy John surgery.
Saunders was coming off a nice breakthrough season as the Mariners starting center fielder, so it’s reasonable to assume he’d have been able to cash in a little north of Kelley’s deal.
MLBtraderumors.com estimated that Saunders could have signed for $1.6 million if he’d become arbitration eligible this offseason.