The Reds got the best performance/value years for both Kearns and Lopez because the system is set up to provide the best value in pre-arbitration years. Dollar-for-dollar, solid performers are dramatically underpaid versus their peers before they're arbitration eligible. That's how the game works but because we see big salary escalations during the first-arbitration eligible years, we misinterpret that it's the best time to punt a player for a value return. That's a slippery slope considering that during the first couple of arbitration years players are simply progressing to the norm in terms of cost efficiency.Originally Posted by oregonred
It's hard for us to stomach seeing a player rise from near-league minimum as they approach what they're actually worth. But if they're going to be overpaid prior to their FA eligibility years, it's going to be after their first two arbitration-eligible seasons. That offers plenty of time to make decisions on whether or not the players you're talking about are keepers.