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Orioles catch break: Jones loses super-two tiebreaker

Nov 11, 2009, 11:04 PM EDT

adam jones.jpg
MLB announced Wednesday that the Cubs’ Mike Fontenot had won a tiebreaker against Adam Jones and the Reds’ Micah Owings to become the last super-two arbitration-eligible player.
All three players had two years and 139 days of service time. Initial reports had the cutoff at 141 days, but that proved to be false.
As we touched on last month, Arizona’s Mark Reynolds was another young star who barely missed the cutoff. From that article:

Under the rules of MLB, players with between three and six years of service time, as well as the top one-sixth of players with between two and three years, qualify for arbitration after every season. Those top one-sixth are known as “super-two” players, and that one rule is why we’ve seen teams so cautious about promoting prospects in April and early May during recent years.

The Orioles don’t stand to gain quite as much as the Diamondbacks did with Reynolds, but Jones, who just claimed a Gold Glove on Monday, could have earned $3 million or so next year had he qualified for arbitration. Now he’ll probably receive $500,000-$600,000. The difference will also be felt in future years, as super-two players traditionally do better financially all of the way through their arbitration years.
As for Fontenot, the Cubs were already expecting him to qualify for arbitration. He probably won’t earn more than $1 million, but he doesn’t appear to be in the team’s plans anyway, and he could be traded or non-tendered this winter.
Other super-two players include Tim Lincecum, Hunter Pence and Matt Garza. The recently traded Carlos Gomez also made the cutoff, but the Brewers were accounting for that when they picked him up for J.J. Hardy. Alex Gordon is another super-two player. He was due to have three full years in before the Royals manipulated his service time in August to gain control of him for another year.

  1. Grant - Nov 12, 2009 at 12:14 AM

    The Orioles traded Mike Fontenot for Sammy Sosa.
    I must admit, at the time of the trade (which I did not like) I did not expect Fontenot to still (or ever) be in the majors. Good on him.

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