The 2020 season has yet to begin and the delay could have an impact on Jesse Winker. The Cincinnati Reds outfielder may not be eligible for arbitration at season’s end.
No one knows when the 2020 baseball season will actually commence. We’ve heard the middle of May tossed about, but in reality we’re likely looking at early-June and perhaps even later. How might that affect Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jesse Winker? Well, if the season is cut in half, Winker may miss out on his first year of arbitration.
According top FanGraphs, Jesse Winker currently has two years and 80 days of accrued service time. With the current delay to begin the season, Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that service time is among the biggest discussions currently between the players union and Major League Baseball.
According to Sherman, recently the union proposed that regardless of the number of games played in 2020, each player would receive a full year of service time. One year of service time is defined as 172 days, even though a season consists of 187 days. MLB countered with 130 games equalling a full season.
But, let’s get the focus back on Winker for a moment. With two years and 80 days in the books, the Reds left fielder is 92 days away from being arbitration eligible for the first time in his career. Each major league player becomes eligible for arbitration once they’ve accumulated three years of service time.
Last season, Jesse Winker took home $580K in annual salary. Being that the left-handed slugger is still pre-arbitration eligible heading into 2020, he’s likely to make in the neighborhood of last year’s salary. However, following the 2020 season, Winker is eligible for arbitration and a bump in pay. That is, of course, if he eclipses the 92 days required to hit three years of service time.
With the start of the 2020 season still up the air, there’s no telling when Opening Day will actually take place. If we run into a scenario in which the 2020 baseball season is cut in half (81 games), then Winker’s first year of arbitration eligibility would be pushed back to the winter following the 2021 season.