Thursday, May 9, 2013
Service time and top prospects
By Jason A. Churchill
With the first week of May behind us it's noteworthy that near-ready prospects who started the season in the minors have surpassed the threshold of service time that will prolong their free agent status for another year, and despite the fact that he started the season in the big leagues, Jackie Bradley, Jr. is now at that point, too, notes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
Others that can now be called to the majors and still need six more years of service after 2013 to qualify for free agency include New York Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler, Pirates future ace Gerrit Cole, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras and catcher Mike Zunino of the Seattle Mariners, among many others. The date actually came and went at the end of April.
None of the above four are lighting the world on fire in Triple-A, however, suggesting more seasoning is needed, which could mean the clubs in question could aim for the arbitration threshold. One industry projection is that the next crop of Super Two arbitration qualifiers -- for this coming offseason -- will need at least two years and 119 days of service. Using that as a guideline, waiting until at least mid-June gives clubs a good shot to avoid Super Two scenarios with their young players.
In regard to Texas Rangers top prospect Jurickson Profar, he logged 33 days of service time in 2012, which means if the Rangers are to avoid such status with the shortstop, he'll need to remain in the minors until sometime after the All-Star break to push back the arbitration clock.