David Freese’s Big Payday

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That’s what I’d be seeing if I were David Freese and I had just fulfilled my childhood dream by winning the World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals and being named MVP of the NLCS and the World Series. But not so fast, let’s take a look at how Mr. October, I mean Mr. Freese, stands to be compensated for his recent baseball heroics.

First the good news. Freese was paid $416,000 in 2011 before his share of the bonus for winning the World Series. The bonus will most likely be $350,000-$375,000. Nothing like doubling your salary by working an extra month, eh?

And now for the “bad” news. Freese has only two years of Major League service time which qualifies him as a pre-arbitration player for 2012. That means that the St. Louis Cardinals either trade him or keep him and pay him whatever they want as long as it’s more than the league minimum and at least 80% of the prior year’s compensation. Freese has no say in the matter.

Let’s look further into the future. From 2013 to 2015 Freese will be considered an arbitration-eligible player. During this time Freese and the team will negotiate and try to come to an agreement regarding his salary. If they cannot reach an agreement, both sides develop their idea of a “fair” salary and an arbitrator will decide. “Fair” is determined based on service time and performance.

In 2016 Freese will finally be a free agent. If the next few years go as well as the 2011 post season, then Freese may finally get his big payday as teams start a bidding war over one of the best players in baseball.

There’s no rest in Freese’s future. He needs to be at peak performance over the next few years to try to land that big contract and ensure a happy retirement.

  • Brent: Thanks for lifting the veil a little on the mystery of how major league salaries work. Ever consider doing a “primer” post explaining the system?

    • Brent Robbs

      Brian: Thanks for reading! What would you be looking for in a “primer” post? Just a better explanation of three levels: pre-arbitration, arbitration-eligible, and free agent, or something more? Let me know because I’m always open to new sports related blog topics.

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