While Polanco is not the first top prospect to be offered a long-term deal while in the minors, he most certainly will not be the last. It was only recently reported that the Houston Astros made a similar offer to George Springer. As Passan reports, when Springer turned it down, the Astros decided to start him off in the minor leagues in order to delay his free agency by one season.
The top 22 percent of each service class are designated Super 2 players, meaning they are granted arbitration – and therefore a higher salary – for four seasons instead of three. By keeping a player in the minor leagues until after the Super 2 cut-off, which is usually in early to mid-June, teams estimate a savings of millions of dollars.
That’s what the whole Super 2 thing is all about. The delay in service time means another year under team control before a player is allowed to file for free agency and seek a larger contract.
Passan is exactly right when he says this:
Whether it is tying Super 2s to performance – it makes sense that the best players should earn money quicker – or some other change, it’s obvious service-time manipulation harms the game by ensuring teams aren’t rostering their 25 best players.
It’s one of the reasons why so many St. Louis Cardinals fans are calling on general manager John Mozeliak to make the call and promote top prospect Oscar Taveras from Memphis.