With the season underway, I wanted to revisit a topic that’s interesting for me and useful for you—breaking down service and what it would take for the team to gain/player to lose a year of contractual control.
The same disclaimer applies as when I’ve done this in the past—I am not advocating for any kind of shenanigans, as holding down players who are ready for contractual reasons is a problem, and it’s in part what’s led to issues surrounding arbitration, free agency, shortening careers, and many other topics that were points of contention in the most recent labor negotiations.
To be frank, while I am against the idea of manipulation, I still derive enjoyment out of counting and tracking these kinds of things. I know there is a subset of fans that find it just as interesting, so it’s still practical to breakdown just where certain players stand when it comes to service.
Below is a table of players currently on the 40-man roster that have options remaining and are not free agents after the season—basically pre-arbitration or arbitration players where counting days is still relevant to their pay structure.
|Player||Service Pre-2023||Options Pre-2023||Days Needed to Surpass YOS||Days Accrued (thru 4/10)||Days Left to Surpass YOS|
|Yerry De Los Santos||0.136||3||36||0||36|
|Ji Hwan Bae||0.013||3||159||12||147|
As you can see, the list is sorted by service time heading into the season. As of yet, there have not been any players who have surpassed their next year of service, with Kranick the closest at four more days to cross a year. That was a foregone conclusion, considering he may spend most of—if not all—the season on the injured list after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Currently, there are still 174 days left in the season, meaning there technically isn’t a player that still can’t pass their next full year of service at this point. Players like Ramirez and the four players added to the 40-man this past offseason—Burrows, Rodriguez, Selby, and Triolo—are getting close, but technically have a few more days than what is listed, as it takes being on option for 20 days in order for days on optional assignment to start counting as such. This means all five could be recalled on or before April 18th and still accrue a full year, despite that being less days than they need to surpass their next full year (167).
Eyeing up the list, I would think that the following players surpass their next full year of service at some point this season, given the relative number of days needed to do so: Mathias, Joe, Heineman, Oviedo, Holderman, Marcano, De Los Santos, Castro, Moreta, Suwinski, Smith-Njigba, Contreras, and Cruz. Everyone above that group on the list (save Ramirez) should surpass because they are unlikely to be optioned, while everyone below (except maybe Bae and Hernandez) likely won’t see enough active days on the roster, leaving them with less than a full year of service going into 2024.
One non-roster player of note before I go. There was some confusion with Miguel Andújar’s service when he was claimed at the end of last season. I was counting him as ending under four years of service, while different publications were putting him just over. According to the team’s media guide, it turns out he actually finished 2022 with just under four years (3.171) and not over. After being outrighted in the offseason, the outcome was likely to be the same—he wasn’t going to finish with more than four years of service—however, I just wanted to point out that it is impossible for him at this point to surpass five years of service, which wouldn’t have been clear before.
Any other questions on players listed here, or maybe some that aren’t? Let me know down in the comments and I’ll cover them there.
A longtime Pirates Prospects reader, Ethan has been covering payroll, transactions, and rules in-depth since 2018 and dabbling in these topics for as long as he can remember. He started writing about the Pirates at The Point of Pittsburgh before moving over to Pirates Prospects at the start of the 2019 season.
Always a lover of numbers and finding an answer, Ethan much prefers diving into these topics over what’s actually happening on the field. These under and often incorrectly covered topics are truly his passion, and he does his best to educate fans on subjects they may not always understand, but are important nonetheless.
When he’s not updating his beloved spreadsheets, Ethan works full-time as an accountant, while being a dad to two young daughters and watching too many movies and TV shows at night.
Dont know if he would take it, but offer keller a 5/60? Buy out a few years of control for some stability moving forward
He’s 27 and in his 4th year of MLB Service – all with the Pirates. In 2021 he was 1.2 fWar, and in 2022 he bumped that to 2.1 fWAR, and “found” himself as a pitcher. He’s our No. 1 and we treated him like a dud. He’s making $2.4 mil and we paid Hill $8 mil and a less-than journeyman like VV over $3 mil.
IMO, floating any type of contract that includes 3 of his FA years could be met with exactly the same attitude as we showed to him. He pitched his ass off last year for a team that was terrible – 29 starts 159 IP, 3.91 ERA and we paid him like we could find somebody like him anywhere on the has been heap of FA.
5/$60 mil is reasonable but something I doubt the Pirates will offer.
So, when will Endy reach the majors?
When he’s magically ready sometime in the 3rd week of June…..
Hopefully he’s hitting by then. As of 4/13/2023, he hasn’t earned anything.
Probably, but I wouldn’t 100% be certain about that. I think it depends on how the Pirates are playing in June and whether he’s hitting. The next window would be late summer, after the trade deadline/white flag.
Correct. With Endy it isn’t just about the extra year, but the money that super two could mean. If he is as good as we hope, the arbitration dollars will be meaningful.
Part of the current predicament with Reynolds. He’s an S2 player and they know he’s going to cost quite a bit the last 2 years.