A proposal to fix MLB’s broken service time rules

Alleviating Super Two stress doesn't need to be so complicated; years of control requires a more drastic response

The practice of organizations manipulating service time to limit how much they’ll need to pay for wins in the distant future has become somewhat commonplace in baseball today. Many are outraged at front offices for not doing what’s right for their players and fans, some actually blame the players for agreeing to this construct in the existing collective bargaining agreement, and some just quietly accept the situation as just something baseball teams do. As we’ve discussed quite a bit around here, Eloy Jimenez has put this debate front-and-center for the White Sox and their fans.

The truth is, the current system is flawed for everyone. Front offices need to choose between naturally letting their players progress and making an optimal budgetary decision, the latter of which results in general managers needing to invent ridiculous fabrications to avoid direct implications of acting in bad faith. The players lose financially, and the fans get frustrated waiting in anticipation for exciting players who are being held down for non-baseball reasons. Owners could potentially see some benefit from general managers exploiting the service time loopholes, but the current defective system is by no means a critical piece in their battle to retain as much of the revenue pie as possible, especially if the budget remains constant regardless of how much is allocated to a particular player.

There are two major issues with the current rules regarding service time. The first is the “six vs. seven years of control” problem which results from the rules described below:

Each Major League regular season will consist of 187 days starting in 2018 (typically 183 days in previous years), and each day spent on the active roster or disabled list earns a player one day of service time. Under the 2017-21 Collective Bargaining Agreement, any player who violates the drug program will no longer receive Major League Service during his suspension, unless his suspension is reduced by 20 or more games under the mitigation provision of the program.

A player is deemed to have reached “one year” of Major League service upon accruing 172 days in a given year. Upon reaching six years of Major League service, a player becomes eligible for free agency at the end of that season (unless he has already signed a contract extension that covers one or more of his free-agent seasons).

A player with five years and 171 days of service time, therefore, is effectively a day of service short of reaching free agency. Teams attempting to manage to this rule will typically wait to promote a player until it is certain that they will accumulate fewer than 171 days of service by the end of the year.

The other problem is the method by which players attain “Super Two” status:

All players with at least three (but less than six) years of Major League service time become eligible for salary arbitration, through which they can earn substantial raises relative to the Major League minimum salary. Additionally, Major League Baseball each year identifies the group of players that ended the prior season with between two and three years of Major League service and at least 86 days of Major League service in that season and designates the top 22 percent — in terms of service time — as arbitration eligible. Those in the top 22 percent — “Super Two” players — are also eligible for salary arbitration despite having less than three years of Major League service.

This rule is perhaps more frustrating because there’s no defined cutoff, as the exact number of days of service needed to become a Super Two player won’t be known until more than two years after the promotion decision needs to be made. The uncertainty causes teams concerned about Super Two status for potential star players to be overly conservative in their promotions.

The problem with both of these rules is that they involve a “cliff date” after which a great deal of equity shifts from the player to the team. One of the two issues would be simple enough to fix with a simple mathematical solution. The other would require radical changes. We’ll start with the easy one.

How to fix the Super Two problem

The rules dictate that a player in the top 22 percent of players between two and three years of service time get to go to arbitration a year early. This rule was put in place presumably to give a benefit to the players most disadvantaged by being held in the minors just long enough to delay their free agency by a year. However, there’s simply no need for there to be a massive gulf in earnings potential between someone with (for example) two years, 130 days of service and someone with two years, 131 days of service. Money is payable in very specific amounts. Salaries can be averaged and blended. The solution here is an interpolation of possible salaries.

Here’s how it could work. Every player with between two and three years of service would begin to be eligible for arbitration (which, for non-Super Two players, would be a year earlier than under the current system). At an arbitration hearing for a player’s first year of arbitration, the player and team would each submit proposed salaries based on comparable salaries of first-year arbitration-eligible players from the recent past, like normal. Once the arbitration salary is determined, the amount the player actually gets paid would be dependent on the percentage of the third year of service completed. Here’s an example:

  • MLB service: 2 years, 43 days (exactly 25% of the third year completed)
  • Next-year salary, determined without arbitration: $600,000
  • Next-year salary, determined with arbitration: $3.0 million
  • Difference between salary with and without arbitration: $2.4 million
  • Actual salary paid to player: $600,000 + 25% * $2.4 million = $1.2 million

For arbitration hearings beyond the first one, both the player and team would need to submit two amounts, each assuming a different number of arbitration years. For example, the above hypothetical player would go to arbitration again the next year and submit two potential salaries: one assuming it’s his first time at arbitration and one assuming it’s his second. The hearing would determine both salaries, and then the final salary would be determined by interpolating between the two as in the above example.

Once enough years have gone by to establish precedent salaries under this new method, the need for interpolating would likely go away, because there will be past examples of players with similar amounts of service for players and teams to use as a benchmark. Players and teams could also agree on a salary number in advance and avoid hearings, similar to how the system works today.

The advantage to the above proposal is that there’s no “cliff date.” A person with two years and one day of service time will go to arbitration a year earlier than someone with two years and zero days, but the player would only be 0.58% “vested” in their salary increase through arbitration, so there wouldn’t be tremendous incentive for teams to avoid that situation. Each day that the team waits to promote a player would result in only a small and roughly uniform amount of cash savings, so no team would be managing to a hypothetical cutoff.

How to fix the “six vs. seven years of control” problem

This one is not as straightforward because the problem can’t be solved by moving the “cliff date” for an extra year of control. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 172 days or 187 days or 91 days. Teams will manage to whatever length of time is written in the rules. Furthermore, we can’t solve the problem by interpolating, because fractional years under contract are completely impractical. There’s no notion of a partial year of control, and the league as we know it would be chaos if players could achieve free agency in May or July.

Since a fractional year of control is not possible, we can turn to its closest approximation: a fractional possibility of an extra year of control. This can be accomplished by a free agency lottery.

This would be a radical change, but there would be obvious benefits. Any player not under a contract extension who has completed at least six full years of service at the end of a season would become a free agent, as before. Any player with at least five years of service at the end of a season could potentially become a free agent, subject to a lottery drawing. The lottery drawing for that player would consist of 172 balls, some of which say “Free Agent” and some of which are blank. The number of balls that say “Free Agent” would be equal to the number of completed days in excess of five full years of service on that player’s ledger. For example, a player with five years, 100 days of service would have 100 “Free Agent” balls and 72 blank balls. One ball would be drawn at random by the commissioner’s office. If a “Free Agent” ball is picked, the player heads to free agency. If a blank ball is picked, the player heads to one final year of arbitration with the team.

The most obvious benefit of this solution would be that there’s no single service cutoff that defines whether a player will be with a team for six or seven years. Another benefit is that it would pass some planning uncertainty to the team and would incentivize them to try to extend the player through the extra year rather than leaving it in the hands of chance. The terms of an extension agreeable to the player would likely be dependent on the number of “Free Agent” balls in the player’s potential lottery drawing, which can effectively convert the problem of discrete-numbered baseball seasons of control to a salary spectrum that rewards partial years of service, as in the Super Two problem above.

(As a final note, if no extensions were to happen, this method would result in players reaching free agency about a half-year earlier on average than in the current system, which would likely not be agreeable to the owners. An alternative would be to move the endpoints by a half year, such that it requires 6.5 years (6 years, 86 days) of service to be guaranteed free agency and any player with over 5.5 years (over 5 years, 86 days) of service would have the potential to reach free agency. The number of “Free Agent” balls in the drawing would then be equal to the number of days of service in excess of 5 years, 86 days.)

* * *  * * *  * * *

There may be other possible solutions and for all we know, a brilliant alternative to the the current service time rules will emerge from the upcoming collective bargaining agreement. What’s clear, however, is that the system in place is broken and is not good for the game. Fans, players, and even general managers are likely sick of the lying, the downplaying of a prospect’s success, the suppression of a young player’s career, and the artificial barriers in place that prevent everyone from enjoying the best players in the world as soon as they’re ready to compete at the highest level. This season, I’ve ranted entirely too much about the failures of the current rules, so I figured it was about time I proposed a way to actually do something about it.

How about you? How would you fix the system?

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Patrick Nolan
Patrick Nolan
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Josh Nelson

Love the Super 2 idea. I think it makes a lot of sense.

The lottery balls would make great television, but my counter is to introduce restricted free agency after Year 5 or 6 (I prefer 5).

Lurker Laura

Yes to loving PNoles’s Super 2 idea, and yes to RFA.

If no RFA to deal with service time, I am thinking of a different radical idea in which the first year you bring up a prospect, there’s a one-year deal in place for that first season, then everybody gets 6 years after that. Essentially, take Year 7 off the table by making a rookie’s first year a wholly separate thing, with separate rules. I haven’t worked out the details, so nobody yell at me that it won’t work. It just came to me right this second.

Josh Nelson

Maybe the teams that act like a small-market team need to lose more players in the open market to change their ways.

Josh Nelson

Yeah when they are beyond their prime.


Not anymore, they are trading them before they get to free agency.


I’m not a fan of the lottery idea (many players would still get screwed; I’d rather not play around with chance as far as allowing someone to become a free agent goes). But your Super 2 idea is the best I’ve heard so far.

But my preferred solution to all of this is to simply eliminate the draft and make every high school/college/international player a free agent. I know there’s no way the owners would ever go for it, but the concept of a draft is absolutely absurd. In no other profession would individuals allow their employer to pick one of 30 random cities and send them there for 6 years, after sending them to a crappier training facility for at least a year (and usually, much much longer).


Yeah, true. I’d still prefer a system that rewards better players over potentially just rewarding lucky players. But, I really haven’t seen a great way to solve that.


Super 2 idea is great.

As for service time, I haven’t thought this through so perhaps its a terrible idea. But how about a player can earn MLB service time in the minor leagues if they have outperformed the league.

It would have to include some sort of sophisticated formula (thats a downside). But it could pretty easily account for prospect ranks, injuries, and numbers, and just focus on AA and AAA. And it would still be conservative. Maybe…after 400 innings (?) at AAA performing at x level where x is well above average or something. Would only effect a small number, but probably Eloy and Vlad Jr.

Definitely some kinks, and doubt anyone would actually be comfortable with a formula determining this sort of thing. But I think there is a formula that could avoid the “Moneyball”-feel to keep the Hawk Harrelsons of the baseball world happy.


What about just straight up 8 years of control from the year of the draft?
If a player stagnates in your system, so be it. You’re not paying them a living wage for their time in the minors anyway.

As Cirensica

This idea is great for players without talent (Those from which the system never manipulates their time anyways), and it is terrible for elite talent that can hit the majors as young as 20 and have to wait 8 years to be a free agent.


Yeah, possibly. I fear this would create the opposite problem: teams rushing players through the system to try and take advantage of cheap talent. Not necessarily a problem, though. 


I was going to suggest something similar to this, but more of a hybrid between age and when drafted/international signing date. It’d be an expansion of the Rule 5 Draft where HS players have an extra year of protection from the Rule 5 Draft than college players.

I don’t know how many years of control to give to teams, that’s a lot tougher. Eight years for a college player is a lot, even if it works closely to when the best college players reach FA (the draft being in June doesn’t help either). Maybe you could bake a RFA system into this?

Tying a players free agency to service time doesn’t make sense for players since, unlike the other professional leagues where the top picks play in the league that upcoming season (even the NHL where usually about 5 draft picks make the opening day roster like Rasmus Dahlin this year), players 99% of the time need more development in the minors. This created the current mess; so getting rid of service time as a basis of one’s free agency would be for the best (for the players and fans).

Also, the current system somewhat hurts teams trying to win right now. The Nats, if they weren’t trying to win this year, would have kept Soto in the minors all season, like the Jays and Sox have. While he won’t get a full year of service time, they’ll still get nearly seven seasons from Soto, they “wasted” a year of his team control on a .500 team which now is looking at a three or four year rebuild in all likelihood. If you expect the Nats to compete in four years, they’ll only have two years of control left with Soto, instead of three.

Josh Nelson

I disagree about the Nationals. They should still be pretty good next year.


How so? They’re a .500 team (baseruns has them better I realize) that is most likely going to lose a 4+ win player in Harper, they already moved Murphy and Gio, and their replacements most likely won’t be as good. They could use an upgrade at catcher and the bullpen needs to be rebuilt. So with only a year left on Rendon’s contract, they’re probably better off trading him to, say, Milwaukee or somewhere.

If they resign Harper, maybe? Then they can move Eaton or Robles to help the pitching staff. But signing Harper eats up almost all the money coming off the books (the big jumps in salary for Scherzer and Strasburg do not help).

Greg Nix

I agree with Josh. For one thing, Harper’s only been worth 1ish or 3ish wins depending on your metric, which is one of the biggest reasons they’ve been disappointing. And they’re able to add prospects in Robles and Kieboom (eventually) that will mostly offset losing him if they don’t re-sign him. Murphy barely played, and Gonzalez wasn’t good. They’ll likely add on the FA market one way or another, so they should be at least in the Wild Card discussion, especially if Eaton and Strasburg are healthier/better.


I don’t see it. The best case is that they had bad luck this year (the Baseruns case), and they won’t be as unlucky next year, but they’re also losing about 8 wins from Gio, Harper, and Murphy. Gio is an average major league starter, replacing him is easier said than done. Murphy didn’t play, but his replacements were bad. Harper’s on pace for about a 4 win season which is very hard to replace. So even after factoring in some luck regression, they’re still a .500 team imo.


Yep. We’ll see what they do this offseason, but there is no reason for the Nats to tear it down, even if Harper leaves. Most teams would be jealous of a core of Scherzer, Strasburg, Rendon, Turner, Soto and Robles. This season has been a disaster, no doubt. But I think they’ll be a contender again next year.

As Cirensica

While he won’t get a full year of service time, they’ll still get nearly seven seasons from Soto, they “wasted” a year of his team control on a .500 team which now is looking at a three or four year rebuild in all likelihood

I don’t get this strategy of callig up top prospects only when the team is contending and not rebuilding


In relation to the current system and considering Soto’s age and where he started the year in the minors. If Soto was on the Sox, he’d be in AA or AAA right now.


I wonder if they could tie it to the player bonus signed at draft? I haven’t thought all this through, but what if there was either a team or player choice: bigger bonus = giving in to service time manipulations. Smaller bonus = more finite years of control.


Super two idea is great.

Service Time lottery seems weird. I’m imagining a world where JD Martinez was traded and the Diamondbacks had a 81.9% of getting an additional year from it.


And JD also illustrates part of the problem/issue. Baseball is just such a wild card compared to most of the other sports. No other sports have such a varying degree of development times, some great players are good at age 21 two years after being drafted, some are signed at 16 and take 8 years, some are drafted at 22 and still take 6 years. It’s so incredibly hard to try and make a system appropriate for every varying prospect.

I think the biggest solution would be to de-incentivise tanking. Which in my opinion would solve most of these issues and keep teams wanting their best players playing.

Josh Nelson

Good point, Jason. MLB is in the position because half the league is only trying to make the postseason.

Lurker Laura

Who’s going to write the “How to de-incentivise tanking” column? Because that is definitely why service time is a problem. I look back at the early 90s White Sox teams, and if the current mindset were in play then, would Thomas be called up at the end of the 1990 season? Ventura at the end of the 1989 season? Probably not. And without that experience, do the Sox win the division in 1993? Dunno.


I don’t think that it would be significant enough to completely dis-incentivise tanking, but I would like to see a change to how draft picks are awarded:

Give the first overall pick to the best team to miss the playoffs, the second pick to second-best team to miss the playoffs and so on down. Then award the last ten picks to playoff teams in reverse order of record.

At the very least, it would spare us all from the chorus of White Sox fans that cheers for their own team to lose for a better draft spot.

Greg Nix

I’d change the FA cliff date from 171 days to 30 days, add an extra year of control, and extend your Super Two idea to all pre-free agent players. So any player who gets more than a September call-up starts their free agency clock, and only true rookies are making the ML minimum. 

The end result is that prime year salaries aren’t depressed in exchange for teams getting extra control, elite prospects can get called up when they’re ready (or at least the service manipulation is squeezed down to a couple weeks of August in most cases), and borderline players can still get a major league look in September to see if they’re ready for the next year’s opening day roster without teams risking a lost arb year. 

Feel free to start poking holes in this. 

Lurker Laura

I was also thinking of a much shorter “cliff,” or no cliff at all. One day in the majors starts the clock. Downside: does not solve the fact that good players are wasting in the minors for season (Vlad Jr, Eloy). Upside: removes the stupid “he needs two weeks of AAA to start the season” lie.


Every team will manage the cutoff, but gnix’s proposal alters the incentives. Team’s goals aren’t simply to maximize player control – their end goal (presumably) is to maximize their chances of making the playoffs (or winning the WS).

Holding a player down in AAA until September who’s ready to play at the major league level in May/June would be of significant detriment to that current season. So they’d have to weigh that cost against the benefit of having that player for the extra year.

Greg Nix

Maybe this is just a solve for the bad optics then, but it’s generally much harder for a player to prove themselves ready by May/June than it is by August/September, simply because of the number of games played. And like 35Shields said, I think this is theoretically a better balance between the rewards of competitive baseball and the risks of losing control.

I might also be overly influenced by the Eloy and Vlad situations. There’s a pretty solid argument that each was ready in May, but neither is even seeing the majors this year. At least they’d get a September call-up in this scenario.

And it also completely eliminates any added financial incentive to hold them down.


The Super 2 proposal is brilliant. The “control” proposal might be brilliant; I just haven’t fully absorbed it yet. My gut says that the huge advantage of the “control” idea, as you say, will be that teams will not want to risk losing the lottery and will extend contracts on terms more favorable to the player than is currently the case. Given that teams are increasingly unwilling to pay players over 30, money needs to be moved down to younger players on some sort of equitable basis. (I’ve re-read the “control proposal: it’s brilliant also.)


I think it should be literal years spent in the majors. If a player plays a game between the beginning of the season and end of August, then they have a year of service time.
Tanking teams can still bring up their top talent in September and not have to play the couple week game in April to retain a year while teams in contention will potentialy call up their best players in July and lose a year if they think it will have an effect on the playoff race.
I still like restricted free agency and how that could increase extensions/teams keeping players around and younger players getting more of the free agent money.


I think the free agency fix could be made simpler – stop capping the amount of days of service time that a player can receive in a single season. The problem right now isn’t necessarily the “cliff” date, it’s that the “cliff” comes to soon – there isn’t too much of a tradeoff for teams.

Suppose instead that a year of service time continued to be defined as 172 days, but that a player could accrue up to 187 days (or 1 year, 15 days) in a season. This would significantly push back the “cliff” date for free agency. Rather than simply keeping a player down for the first 16 days of the season, the front office would have to keep their player down for 90 days.

While this wouldn’t completely solve the problem, it would make it less common. In 2015, the tradeoff for the Cubs to call up Kris Bryant wasn’t particularly tough – although you could argue that it ended up costing them home-field advantage for the WC game. Two weeks of Bryant in 2015 vs. a year of Bryant in 2021. It would have been a much harder decision for the Cubs to make if they had to choose between half a year of Bryant in 2015 and a year of Bryant in 2021.


Allow me to join in on the chorus of people who like the Super-2 idea. It’s simple, and seems like it would be effective.

I feel like the lottery balls is less good. I think from a game theory perspective it works and makes sense, and if these weren’t real people I think it would be a fine solution. But I think it will be hard to justify those results to the individual. Players A & B both had the same service time, but B gets to be a free agent because his pull came up lucky? Seems too unfair to the player.

I’m not certain of a good alternative though. I’m trying to work one in my head, something akin to a posting system, like they have in Japanese baseball. The general outline of my idea is: what would happen is that after your fifth year of service, you would be available to be signed a free agent. However, if any other team wanted to sign you, they would have to pay your original team posting fee in addition to the player contract; and the fee that they would have to pay is proportional to the amount of days of service time in excess of five full years of service. In theory, you could make the fee increase with the excess, in order to incentivize teams to call players up, or make it decrease (inversely proportional), to keep the incentives as they are now.

My thinking here is to try to maintain the benefits of the extra year as is now, but to avoid making a clear benefit to hitting an exact number (the cliff problem). My thought is that if what you want is cost certainty/benefit, that the way to help that is to offer the possibility of a large cash inflow if you don’t actually get to keep the player on that contract. I don’t know if getting, say, $30 million is equivalent to having a player for his 6th year under arbitration; maybe teams would always prefer the 6th year. But I think a team could justify taking that money and putting it somewhere else, as an equivalent value swap.

That was just my initial, rambling thought. What do you think?

In any case, I really liked the article. It was well thought out and interesting, and it obviously got me thinking! 🙂


As to the pull coming up lucky or unlucky, any unfairness to the respective players is similar to the NFL currently with its franchise tag. The point of the “control” fix is not to make it fair, if I understand it properly, but to incentivize teams to not invoke it. Your posting fee fix has a problem: collusion or at least allegations of collusion. What I like about Patrick’s fix is it can not be gamed.


Scrap arbitration altogether. It does a terrible job of keeping up with market trends in valuation. Replace it with restricted free agency.

Eliminate major league service time and just keep one clock starting from the signing date. They already are keeping track of this for rule 5 and minor league free agency.

Michael Kenny

I’m not sure a free agency lottery could work because of the human element. I don’t know that either side would want a situation where players cross their fingers hoping they can leave their current teams and get a ton of money, and GMs hope they get another below-market year out of the player. Who looks good in that scenario?

As for the Super Two idea, it effectively gives arbitration to every player with 2+ years of service while changing the service time input into arbitration from years to days. Plus, once the difference between 2.000 and 2.050 matters, the difference between 5.000 and 5.050 matters three years later. I imagine most of the math would get thrown out the window in favor of a simpler, smoother relationship between service time and salary. That does make it an effective solution to service time gaming though.

Michael Kenny

Still, there’s a point at which a player will decide to take his chances. Kris Bryant at 5.171 isn’t realistically going to negotiate for another season. But what happens when a player at 5.160 gets beaten? Now he’s stuck for another year when he was 93% sure he was going to get his big payday.

Jim Margalus

I wonder what it’d look like if grievances were actually processed in a timely fashion, with a penalty or consequence attached if teams were on the wrong side of it.

Jim Margalus

Jonah Keri’s idea: Give teams cash.

Here’s how it works:

The first team to call up its top-rated prospect in a given major-league season instantly gets a check for $10 million. The next 16 teams to do so also collect checks, but at progressively lower dollar amounts.

Trooper Galactus

That would have been a good way to get Courtney Hawkins health care for life.


We got the three letters of death sequence- UCL….TJS, hopefully a good recovery for Kopech. 

karkovice squad

So much for 2019.


3 minutes ago…Kopech needs Tommy John surgery


Unbelievable. A gut punch to 2019 hopes. This team used to have such good luck with injury.

P: Rodon, Jones, Kopech, Gonzalez, Burdi, Dunning, Hansen, Puckett, McClure, Lambert.



2019 wasn’t really in the cards. But ’20 now becomes more challenging.


Don’t forget to throw in the position player angle too:
Burger and Micker


Goddam just look at the Sox top prospect list on FG:
1. Eloy
2. Kopech – season-ending TJS
3. Robert – season shortened by various injuries
4. Hansen – season-shortening forearm injury, poor results coming back
5. Burdi – basically out all season recovering from TJS
6. Collins
7. Dunning – season-ending elbow injury
8. Cease
9. Micker – season-ending TJS
10. Burger – out all season with two ACL tears

Thank God for Dylan Cease because if anything 2018 has just been confirmation that TANSTAAPP

lil jimmy

sucks, just sucks.


Just god damn it. How can there be this many injuries for a rebuild? Just so freaking many all the time…


all that rain during his starts turned out to be eerie foreshadowing. So what does this change? Gotta take a deep breath here.


I don’t think it changes anything. Look at the Cardinals. Alex Reyes, who was rated higher than Kopech two years ago, has been hurt the last two years, and they keep finding guys to step up. We have built a lot of pitching depth in the organization. There are still many guys that can step up and help the club next year. Maybe Cease can have a great spring and take the jump earlier than anticipated. Full speed ahead with the rebuild!!


We’re just going to need other guys to step up. Every team has to deal with this. The Rays had 3 of their top prospect need TJ surgery this year. That’s why you can never have too much pitching. That’s a potential opening for Adams or Stephens. Hopefully they take advantage of it.


Yep, rebuilds are no sure thing. But if pitching was once seen as a potential strength in the system, that is less clear right now.

karkovice squad

I’d prefer a solution that removes days on a roster as a consideration. It should work like options. If you’re called up in a calendar year, the team has burned a year of control similar to how options work. No cliff for getting an extra year of control or triggering early arb. I’d potentially make an exception for September call-ups since they’re not playoff eligibile.

If that’s insufficient incentive to call up players in a timely fashion, then also expand Rule 5 and minor league free agent eligibility.

Days on a roster would still factor into salary, though.

I wouldn’t mind simplifying team control to just X calendar years from signing first professional contract, either.

The arb system is itself due for an overhaul, anyway. Along with grievance procedures.