All of Your Super Two/Arbitration Clock Questions Answered

When will Gerrit Cole pass the Super Two cutoff?

When will Gerrit Cole pass the Super Two cutoff?

I’ve been getting Super Two and arbitration clock questions all day, probably because of the Wandy Rodriguez injury and the chance that Gerrit Cole could come up soon. Rather than answering these over and over, I’m going to go over the deadlines here. Then I can just send people here when I keep getting the questions over and over.

Question 1: When will Gerrit Cole be eligible for an extra year of control?

Answer: He already is. One year of service time is 172 days. A player isn’t eligible for free agency until he passes 6.000 years of service time. If Cole came up today, he’d have 0.117 years of service time this season, giving him six full years of control remaining. So no matter when he comes up, the Pirates control his rights through the 2019 season.

Question 2: When will Gerrit Cole avoid Super Two status?

Answer: There is no specific date here. Super Two status is awarded to players with more than two, but less than three years of service time. Only the players with the top 22% of service time in that group are Super Two eligible (that’s up from 17% under the old CBA). If the Pirates called Cole up today, and kept him up, he’d have 2.117 years of service time after the 2015 season.

The thing is, it’s really hard to predict what the actual cutoff will be two years from now. Right now the projected cutoff for the upcoming off-season is 2.119. So Cole’s 2.117 if he came up today would be dangerously close. Also, the 2.119 is the lowest in the last five years, but that’s probably due to the increase from 17% to 22%. In this article about the Mets and Zack Wheeler, they’re estimating the date could be anywhere from late-May to June 10th, while another team estimates June 15th.

If Cole came up on June 15th, he’d finish with 0.107 years of service time. If he stays up for good, he’d be safe.

Question 3: CALL HIM UP!

Answer: Cole just finished seven shutout innings for the second game in a row. He currently has 19.2 scoreless innings in a row, with five hits allowed in that span. As I wrote earlier, the Pirates don’t need a fifth starter until June 15th (coincidental that this date comes up multiple times in this article). I still have questions about whether Cole is ready, but he’s answered a lot of them in his last three starts. Is he dominating like a number one starter? No. Is he looking like a guy who could have success in the majors right now? Yes.

Cole could make one more start, then come up if the Pirates need him on the 15th. That gives him one more start to show he’s ready, plus it almost certainly avoids Super Two status down the line, which could be huge for the Pirates if Cole ends up being the pitcher we think he will be.

Question 4: Why not just call him up for one start?

Answer: When Cole comes up, he needs to be up for good. The problem with calling him up for one start is that he’s not on the 40-man roster. You’d have to add him to the 40-man, bring him up, then option him down after that one start. That burns one option year.

Ideally you won’t need to worry about options with Cole. But at some point we thought the same thing about Pedro Alvarez, and that quickly turned to “is Alvarez eligible for a fourth option?” (and Cole wouldn’t be). I don’t think the value of one start is worth one option year. If you’re going to bring him up, bring him up for good. And there’s no reason why that can’t happen on June 15th.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • deacs

    Thanks Tim. If his next start is a good one I have to think the stars would align perfectly here. Saturday home game too. Maybe even a Cole/Kershaw matchup. I agree with you though. Not looking for a #1 starter now. Just a #5 who develops into a #1 or #2 someday. And forget what we all want. Would he not be the best option if J Mac, Gomez and Wandy are aren’t ready?

    • Tim Williams

      I said earlier today that he would be the best option they could turn to if he’s ready. That was before today’s start. One more like that and it will look like he is ready.

  • Lee Young

    Thx Tim….great stuff as always!

  • smurph

    Cole is in a groove right now. Just bring him up for the June 11 opener against the Giants, a light hitting team at PNC. Then move the other starters back one day.

    • Tim Williams

      OK. Now I’m convinced you have tickets to the June 11th game.

    • smurph

      I know the Giants are 2nd in the NL in average, but they are next to last in HR, which has been a problem for Cole. Add in a big left field, looks like a good setup to me.

      • Tim Williams

        Walks have been the problem for Cole, not homers.

  • deacs

    Are you doing anything live for the draft?

    • Tim Williams

      John and I will be on Twitter.


  • skliesen

    After watching the Pirates literally sleep walk through 2 games (monday & today) from up close, it’s plainly evident this team needs a spark. Calling up the stud #1 prospect pitcher and having him rock the champ’s world at home next Tuesday may be what the Dr. ordered! Come on NH, make it happen!

  • Sean

    Glad you did mention Pedro above Tim because I really don’t think, as much as I’ve personally been a big fan and supporter of his, that he can resolve his abysmal contact issues in the Bigs. Does he have an option left this year to help him learn to consistently hit a baseball back at AAA? Also might be a bit of a wake-up call for him and the team to start swinging the bats better.

    • Tim Williams

      He does. All of the options can be found here:

      • Susanne Klich Langford

        People’s lack of patience to send a guy down or call a guy up always amazes me. Marte has been our best player all season until the last few weeks and they are ready to hook him. No sense giving Cole the early call unless you know the date. The front office will be 95% sure by the end of this weekend. I saw last Cole last Friday and he looked great. It seems the 6 days off let him get his head/mechanics in order. Hopefully we will have the next Matt Cain by next year.

  • westonian420

    So Marte has two more options left. Its about time to burn one.

  • Andy Zibuck

    The option is you is a non-starter. He’s in a different spot than Pedro was. He’s already in AAA. If a spot start is the best thing for the team do it. You seem to think one or two more starts may be the difference between him being ready or not. I find that hard to believe.

    • Susanne Klich Langford

      It’s not any different than the Pedro situation. We called Pedro up when the super two deadline was in the safe zone also. The only difference now is they have some starter injury issues.

      – Fred Langford

      • Andy Zibuck

        We are talking about options not super 2. Completely different issue and completely different from Pedro in that he’d burned two options before reaching AAA. Cole is already in AAA and has burned zero options.

  • IC Bob

    Wow you go 0-4 a couple of times with this group and they are ready to send you on your way. A better idea is give Marte two days off. It would be nice if we had a 4th outfielder though. Lets go ahead and release Slugarski, he is just awful and add another hitter. In the meantime we can bring up another reliever (with Rodriquez on the DL) until we have a need for a starter and by then out bullpen should be rested and we will be able to drop a reliever.

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