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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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.

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.


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


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.

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.


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!


Are you doing anything live for the draft?


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.


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.

Lee Young

Thx Tim….great stuff as always!


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?

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