What is MLB Arbitration?

MLB arbitration is a process in which teams and players involved in Major League Baseball can settle salary disputes without going to court. It is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in which a neutral third party (the arbitrator) hears both sides of a dispute, reviews evidence, and renders a decision. The decision is binding and cannot be appealed. MLB arbitration has been used for decades to resolve contract disputes between teams and players, and is a key element of the collective bargaining agreement that governs the relationship between MLB and the players’ union.

How Does MLB Arbitration Work?

When a dispute arises between a team and a player, the team and the player may choose to submit their dispute to arbitration. The team and player may be represented by their own attorneys or by a representative from the Major League Baseball Players Association. The arbitration process typically begins with the filing of a request for arbitration by one of the two parties. This request will typically include a statement of the dispute, as well as a statement of the amount of money that each party is asking for.

Once the request is filed, the two parties will meet with an arbitrator to present their case. The arbitrator will review the evidence presented by both sides and make a decision. This decision is binding and cannot be appealed. The arbitrator’s decision is based on the evidence presented, and is intended to resolve the dispute in a fair and equitable manner.

What Factors Does an Arbitrator Consider?

When making decisions in MLB arbitration, the arbitrator will consider a variety of factors. These include the player’s past performance, the length of the player’s contract, the amount of money being requested by the player, and the team’s ability to pay the requested amount. The arbitrator may also consider the team’s budget, the team’s history of signing players, and the player’s overall value to the team.

In addition to these factors, the arbitrator will also consider the collective bargaining agreement between the players and the teams. This agreement sets forth the rights and obligations of both parties and the specific rules that must be followed in MLB arbitration.

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Advantages of MLB Arbitration

MLB arbitration has several advantages over traditional litigation. First, it is typically much faster than litigation. In many cases, the entire arbitration process can be completed within a matter of weeks, whereas a lawsuit could take years to resolve.

Second, MLB arbitration is typically much less expensive than litigation. While there are still costs associated with arbitration, they are usually much lower than the costs associated with litigation. Additionally, the arbitration process is confidential, so the details of the dispute are not made public.

Finally, the arbitrator’s decision is binding and cannot be appealed. This means that both parties must accept the outcome of the arbitration. This can help to avoid lengthy and costly litigation and can help to preserve relationships between teams and players.

Disadvantages of MLB Arbitration

Despite its many advantages, MLB arbitration does have some potential drawbacks. First, the decision of the arbitrator is final, so if the decision is not in favor of one of the parties, that party has no recourse to appeal.

Second, the arbitrator’s decision is based solely on the evidence presented by the parties. This means that a party may not be able to present all of the evidence it would like to support its case. Additionally, the arbitrator’s decision may be based on factors that are not necessarily related to the dispute, such as the team’s budget or the player’s overall value to the team.

Finally, the arbitration process can be expensive. While the costs of arbitration are usually lower than the costs of litigation, they can still be significant.


MLB arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that has been used for decades to resolve salary disputes between teams and players. The process is typically much faster and less expensive than traditional litigation, and the decision of the arbitrator is binding and cannot be appealed. However, there are some potential drawbacks to MLB arbitration, such as the inability to appeal an unfavorable decision and the potential for the arbitrator’s decision to be based on factors not related to the dispute. Ultimately, MLB arbitration can be a useful tool in resolving salary disputes between teams and players, but it is important to understand the potential risks and rewards of using this form of ADR.