After three years of service time in Major League Baseball, a player is eligible for a significant pay raise assuming he has performed well. Each player is in arbitration--the process through which players between years four and seven of their careers are given a contract--for three years. Once a player has played six total seasons in Major League Baseball, he is free to explore other teams through free agency.
This year, the St. Louis Cardinals have six arbitration-eligible players: Tommy Edman, Dylan Carlson, Ryan Helsley, JoJo Romero, Andrew Kittredge, and John King. I discussed some of these players' projected salaries a few months back. You can read my breakdowns here.
Dates and deadlines relating to arbitration are nearing. Here is a breakdown of those dates and deadlines.
Friday, January 12th
On Friday, January 12th, teams will submit salary figures with arbitration-eligible players. These salaries are grounded in a few statistical measures: player performance, players with a similar history of performance and how much they were awarded through arbitration, awards that player has received up to this point in this career, and past arbitration salaries given to that player through arbitration. An arbitration hearing can be avoided if the player and his agent agree to the proposed salary.
January 29th-February 16th
Arbitration hearings will occur between these dates. These hearings only occur if the player does not accept the original salary proposal from his team. These meetings can become volatile, as the team is trying to show the player he is not worth the money he thinks he is. Last year, it was reported that Corbin Burnes's hearing with the Milwaukee Brewers became contentious.
A third-party adjudicator will determine the final salary figure by February 16th if the team, player, and agent can't come to an agreement. Historically, John Mozeliak prefers to avoid hearings with his players, but anything is possible. The team and player could even explore a long-term contract at this point to avoid arbitration in the future.