Published November 20, 2014
Washington reliever Drew Storen, who failed to hold a ninth-inning lead against St. Louis in Game 5 of the NL division series, is among six extra players eligible for salary arbitration this winter under baseball's new labor contract.
San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera, New York Mets catcher Josh Thole, Tampa Bay outfielder Sam Fuld, Colorado outfielder Tyler Colvin and Arizona third baseman Chris Johnson also are eligible because of the new deal, Major League Baseball and the players' union agreed Tuesday.
"I was actually aware that the new rule allowed me to be eligible," Storen said in an email to The Associated Press. "I had talked to my agent a few months back when they had an idea of what the cutoff would be. It was something last year I thought could benefit me along with many other guys. Between the new arbitration rules and raised league minimum, the new CBA really benefits 1-3 year-service guys. It was definitely something I was happy about. Little did I know it was going to be such a close call to become eligible."
Under the labor contract agreed to last November, the top 22 percent of players by service time with at least two years but less than three are eligible for arbitration along with the 3-to-6 year players. From 1991 through last year, the top 17 percent in the 2-to-3-year group had been eligible.
The cutoff was 2 years, 139 days, down from what would have been 2 years, 144 days under the old rule. Seattle outfielder Michael Saunders still fell one day short.
Others eligible this winter in the so-called Super 2s group are San Francisco catcher Buster Posey and outfielder Gregor Blanco; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis and reliever Ronald Belisario; Baltimore left-handers Brian Matusz and Troy Patton; Milwaukee closer John Axford; Mets first baseman Ike Davis; Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker; Los Angeles Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen; Oakland first baseman Brandon Moss; Nationals reliever Craig Stamman; Atlanta pitcher Cristhian Martinez; Philadelphia reliever David Herndon; Cincinnati outfielder Chris Heisey and reliever Logan Ondrusek; Minnesota catcher Drew Butera; Miami catcher Brett Hayes; Chicago Cubs third baseman Luis Valbuena; and Kansas City pitcher Blake Wood.
Under the new rules, all players tied for the last slot become eligible.
"Roger Bernadina last year was a guy who was a tie, but missed it because the old rules did not allow that to happen," Storen said of his Nationals teammate. "That would be pretty frustrating to be in his shoes in that situation."
Milwaukee catcher Jonathan Lucroy missed by three days, costing him $2 million. If had been arbitration-eligible, his contract called for his 2013 salary to escalate from $750,000 to $1.9 million, for his 2014 and 2015 pay to rise by $300,000 a year and for 2016 to go up by $250,000.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro would have been eligible but agreed in August to a $60 million, seven-year contract. Matusz's contract includes a $700,000 team option, but he can void it because he is arbitration eligible.
AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich in Washington, D.C., contributed to this record.