The TBC Newsletter
will keep you periodically up-to-date on what is happening at The Baseball Cube.
Player contracts represent the legal bond between team and player. A player's contract is by season and can be multiple seasons. There are rules regarding players right depending on service time but players of all experience must play with a contract. Within the contract, there are legal stipulation, financial promises and performance incentives. The contract may prevent players from doing certain activities, require them to do some community service or give them the ability to veto trades, opt out of contracts or accept an option year at a pre-determined amount.
TBC tracks contract history for Major Leaguers, mostly from the arbitration (Years 3-6) years forward. Prior to arbitration, teams have the ability to renew contracts and what they deem a fair value. Though they may sign these players to long term contracts, it is much rarer to do so then during the arbitration years. After the arbitration years, players will become free agents at the conclusion of expiring contracts. From there, they are able to hit the open market and have teams vie for their services, creating bidding wars for dollars, terms and perks.
Our contract history ranges back to the 2000s. The details for contracts 2012 and later are more specific but still relatively high level. A normal contract record will capture: Range of Years, Dollar Value Guaranteed, Option years and dollars, type of signing (Free Agent, Arbitration) and salary per year. Beyond that, you'll have to dig a bit deeper on the Net or ask the player to send you a PDF of his contract, which I doubt he will do.