Domonic Brown’s service time a consideration?

This question was raised in the comments section, if maybe the Phillies have an incentive to leave Brown in the minors for x amount of time based on salary considerations. The Phillies have shown a willingness to bring guys up in the past when they are ready and not worry about the clock. Brown is on the 40 man roster, so that isn’t a consideration. Let’s look at the facts. For determining Super 2 status, arbitration, and free agency, MLB functions under the “Service Time” metric, and it goes in years.

1 year of MLB service time = 172 days on the 25 man roster, or on the MLB DL during the season.
1 MLB season generally consists of 182 days.

Players with 2 years or less of service time are eligible to have their contract renewed for the MLB minimum (or an amount the team chooses) unless they signed a contract previously which guarantees them a different dollar amount. Players with more than 2 years of service, but less than 3 years of service who have at least 2 years + 86 days of service time are put into a group. Of that group, the top 17% are deemed “Super 2” players and are eligible for salary arbitration. Over the last few seasons, the cutoff for “Super Two status” has been right around 2 years + 140 days of service time. After you have 6 years of service time or more, you are a free agent. So, let’s apply this to Brown.

Last year, Brown accumulated 68 days of service time.
As far as I know, when he was placed on the DL in spring training, he did not begin to accrue service time, as that only counts if the player is injured during a regular season game, when service time is assigned. Thus, he currently has 0 days of service time in 2011. Lets assume he comes up on June 1 of this year and then never goes back to the minors.

2010 = 68 days of service.
2011 = 120 days of service. (1.016 years total)
2012 = 182 days of service (2.016 years total)
2013 = 182 days of service (3.016 years total)
2014 = 182 days of service (4.016 years total)
2015 = 182 days of service (5.016 years total)
2016 = 182 days of service (6.016 years total)

So Brown will be a free agent after 2016, if he doesn’t sign a long term deal first. The Phillies would essentially have to trim 17 days off of his service time in 2011 to prevent this from happening.

120 days (figured above, as June 1 being the target) -17 days is June 18th.

Update —> Thanks for pointing this out in the comments about the 1 year of service. I originally had this as my estimate, then thought I was wrong and changed. I’ve now fixed it. Much better.

39 thoughts on “Domonic Brown’s service time a consideration?

  1. That’s alot of games still to played before then. If they can keep winning, they could easily make the case they don’t need him.

  2. Phils obviously need to do what they need to do to win now but as long as the team is winning and we are in good shape, this is just another reason to not rush him. Would love to see Ibanez and Francisco play well enough to allow for July 28th or later…

    Will be interesting to see who plays LF next year – does anyone know what free agents are available?

  3. Alright, I think I finally fixed the math. My initial calculation was wrong. If he came to the majors on June 1, he’d have 188 total days of service time after 2011, which is 1 year + 16 days, which is 1.016, not 1.006. Then you would add a full year + 10 days for each subsequent full season, meaning after 2016 he would have 6 full years + 66 days. So, to buy an extra year of free agency, the Phillies would have to cut 67 days off of the June 1st guess.

    1. PP – You are still off in your calculations.

      The most service any player can accumulate in any single season is one Year of Service, which is 172 Days of Service. Even if a player is with his team for the entire 182 days of the regular season, he does not get credit for the 10 extra days.

      So, in your example, Brown has 68 Days of Service coming into the 2011 season. If he were to come up on June 1, the maximum number of Days of Service for the remainder of the season is 120 since the regular season ends on September 28. That’s a total of 188.

      To prevent Brown’s accumulating one Year of Service by the end of 2011, the Phils would have to keep him in AAA until June 18.

      (I need to check the CBA agreement again, but I was under the impression that Brown was accumulating Days of Service from the beginning of the season until he came off the DL and was sent down. If that is correct, then the Brown would have to be kept in AAA an additional 30 days or so.)

      1. Here’s what I think. If the date is truly June 18, there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that, absent a true emergency, they will keep there until that time and promote him immediately thereafter. He could use the extra time at AAA in any event.

        If the date is in August, they probably should not and will not wait that long.

        I guess we’ll see.

    2. PP – There’s at least one major error in your calculations. Under the CBA, the most service that any player can accumulate in any single season, whatever its length, is one Year of Service or 172 Days of Service.

      So, Brown will not pick up an extra 10 Days of Service in seasons 2012-2016. If your statements were otherwise correct, the Phils could delay Brown’s free agency by one year if they keep him in AAA until June 18.

      (I’d have to check the CBA again, but Brown may have been accumulating Days of Service once the regular season began and while he was on the DL. If so, Brown would have to be held down until late July.)

        1. If derekcarstairs is right, shouldn’t the number of days accrued each year be 172, not 182? And shouldn’t the denominator in your calculation be 172, not 182? So after 2011 he would have (68+120)/172 = 1.093 years of service?

  4. I assumed most of the “holdbacks” for star rookies was to avoid Super Two status. In Brown’s case, since the Phillies called him up before Sept last year I doubt there is much benefit unless they keep him in the minors most of the season.

    If the Phillies were really trying to limit his time, they needed to send him down when Gload got hurt last season and Victorino returned. They would have essentially traded a month this season for riding the bench last Sept.

  5. It may be naive to believe that he’d be brought up when he is “ready”: meaning when his skills are ready to compete vs. ML pitchers…plus fielding his position at least better than adequately. He might show he’s ready with the bat but his fielding may need further polish. He may also be fast but not adequate to read pitchers well enough to steal bases.

    All these areas may need further development but players can develop the refinement of these “supplemental” skills while playing in the bigs.

    So…I really hope he is not “rushed,” but leery of their using other considerations like service time. His bat–needed on this only moderately successful offense–could positively effect the whole lineup and help bring us back closer to the days of 2008 when their offense was the one to fear in MLB.

  6. Thanks for the analysis.

    As long as they are winning and Gload/Ibanez stay healthy, I see not reason to bring him up before the All-Star break.

  7. They should call him up now. We aren’t getting any production from our corner outfielder spots. Rather have Dom learning on the fly then Ibanez and Benny sucking it up out there.

  8. Brown sprained his thumb (philly.com) so the point is moot for now..The idea of holding people back for service time is of no use. Suppose the service time required for arbitration was reduced to 2 years, what? they should hold somebody back for an entire season then, when they can play now?

    1. The idea of holding a player back is to receive a greater return on the investment come arbitration time. Basically, a team is trading 182-85=97 days of the prospects playing time at the MLB level to insure that the team will be paying that player less for the last four years of team-control. In your example of requiring two years , it would actually be easier for teams to accomplish this. In order for the team to avoid arbitration after the second year, they would only have to hold back the player 182-171=11 days.
      Now, the argument whether holding back a player’s development for 97 days into the season is worth the four years of savings is one that is up for debate.

  9. I honestly don’t think they care. They will bring Brown up when they are confident he is ready. You can I might disagree on when that might be but if they see that as being a need before June 18th they will do it.

    This is just my opinion but somewhere around 100-150 AB’s if he is still hitting at or near .300 he will be called up. I think Ruben will want to know long before July31 what type of offense he has and what type of improvment he can make.

    1. I disagree that they don’t care. I think they are very canny and they do care. They fully understand that having a potentially huge asset like Domonic Brown under contract for an extra year has enormous value. However, they are not stupid. If they think they really need him at the time and it is unwise for them to wait a little longer, they will not let service time get in the way of that decision. So, in sum, I think it is a relevant consideration and it is one of the things that they weigh when they promote a player.

  10. I took another look at the CBA, but it’s still not clear if Brown accumulated MLB service during his stint on the DL. The issue is whether or not Brown was on the major league roster at the time of his injury.

    If he was, then he cannot be assigned to a minor league club while on the DL, and his time on the DL is considered major league service time. If this is correct, Brown would have to be kept at AAA until approximately July 20th in order to delay Brown’s free agency until after the 2017 season.

    OTOH, I believe that teams can assign players with limited major league service (like Brown) to a minor league club without serious limitations. That suggests that it may be routine good practice for teams to assign their young players to the minors at the close of a season in order to avoid the problem the Phils could face with Brown.

    Was Brown on the major league roster at the time of injury?

  11. Brown was on the active roster at the time of his injury. Any player on the 15 day DL is part of an MLB roster. Otherwise they’d be on the minor league 7 day DL. Thus he accumulated service time.

    I don’t think service time should figure into the Phillies’ plans. You worry about that when it means wasting a player’s productive years. A team contending now needs to put its best possible team on the field. Missing the playoffs would cost far more money than having to pay an extra year of arbitration.

    1. I think this is correct actually, about the MLB DL, but its confusing, because there is no “25 man roster” in spring training, just a 40 man roster. I suppose because the Phillies did not option him in spring training before he got hurt they couldn’t do anything about it. So he’d have picked up, what, 30 extra days of service time?

      1. According to major league operating rules, all players on the 40-man roster are automatically called-up on Nov 1, of each year. The active major league roster becomes the 40-man roster between November 1 of one year and March 15 of the following year. The only way a player can remain on the 40-man roster after March 15 is by optioning, placing on the DL or remaining on the active roster. The active roster can be reduced voluntarily below 40-man after March 15 by a each club. The active roster is automatically reduced to 25 players by opening day.

      2. Looks like 32 or 33 extra days of service time with the major league season starting March 31st and the Phillies first game April 1. Pretty sure he gets major league service time in the same way Scott Mathieson could be arbitration eligible next year even though he has barely played. That would mean somewhere in the July 20-25 range would be the Super Two line.

        If he is healthy I would hope the Phillies bring him up long before then.

      3. A few posters have touched on it already. The term “25 man roster” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s an active roster that is reduced to 25 men during the season. Brown was indeed on that active roster. As I touched on when it happened, an injured player can not get optioned down as that would violate the CBA. So when Brown got hurt the Phils were obligated to keep Brown on their major league roster (this rule prevents a team from sending down an injured player where he would get paid less, obviously). So Brown did pick up about a month worth of service time, as DL time counts.

    2. Missing the playoffs?

      We have the best record in baseball without him.

      Chooch returns today. Utley and Oswalt in a week or two. Contreras soon after them.

      Also, no one can guarantee any significant improvement in results from Brown versus Fransisco.

      Give him sufficient time for his hand (and now thumb) to heal with the goal of having him in top form for the post-season – when we will need him the most.

      1. We do have the best record in baseball. But you always have to be wary and attentive. The 1979 Phillies also started 24-12 (with a tie) and they collapsed into fourth place. (And their collapse literally started mid-game in that Wrigley Field shootout.) It’s a long season and problems can arise.

        Brown’s promotion should be tied to his own progress of course. By the All-Star game he will have been in AAA (for all intents) for about a full calender year. I would say then at the latest, probably the end of May at the earliest.

  12. I think our record in a month should be considered more than how well raul or ben are doing. If we have a 5-7 game lead in a month and both are hitting .240 who cares we have a 5-7 game lead. Dom will be very expensive for that one year if he’s as good as i think he will be and with (boros) i think as his agent. let him get his time in and then a few extra weeks to save potentially millions of dollars imho.

  13. Phillies are designed to win now. If Brown is able to contribute at a higher level than those currently on the 25-man, then I think he’ll be called up sooner rather than later and irrespective of a callup’s impact on Brown’s future arbitration or FA status. It could certainly go either way, but I stick with my suspicion that Brown will be called up before June 1st.

    Interesting write up in the Daily News about Pharmer Mike Nesseth: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20110513_Paul_Hagen_.html

  14. Wait, are people really suggesting that Brown should stay in AAA for any reason other than money or health? In 158 career plate appearances in AAA, Brown is hitting .348 / .399 / .567. He’s not going to learn more at that level against pitchers not good enough to make it to the big leagues.

    It would be one thing if he were blocked, but our current right fielder is a career bench player who’s hitting .229 / .343 / .373, and out left fielder is hitting .232 / .289 / .360 and has been terrible in the field.

    So we can call up our best prospect who’s killing AAA pitching, or continue giving those ABs to a career bench player and a guy on the downside of his career.

    Now if this is a service time issue, or if he’s not healthy, then fine. But otherwise, this seems like a no-brainer to me.

  15. You hit the nail on the head with the fact that he’s had only 158 career plate appearances in AAA over 2 years. That’s barely more than a month of at-bats playing everyday.

    Brown is a terrific prospect but he’s not going to light up the ML when he arrives. He still needs work both offensively and defensively.

    I have no problem with the Phillies bringing him up now and using a 4-man platoon in both LF/RF but he’s not going to significantly outperform the options they already have.

  16. Unless Brown puts up a monster month of 1.100+ OPS, I think he stays in AAA until mid-August or until an injury to an outfielder, whichever comes first, probably the injury. The Phillies need 2 back-up infielders who can play 2B & 3B now because who ever starts among Valdez, Orr, and Martinez needs to be pinch-hit for. They will need 2 back-ups when Utley gets back because of uncertainty surrounding the durability of Utley especially, but also Polanco and Rollins. I think Manual wants to give Ibanez a very long chance because of his streaky history. Manual sounds like he also thinks Francisco deserves a long shot, I’d guess at least a half-season as a regular. He is not a career bench player. He was a starter for Cleveland when he was traded to Philly. Let’s find out if he could be the answer in LF next season. Mayberry is the 4th outfielder and he’s earned the right to stay. The other option to make room on the roster for Brown without an outfield injury would be to go with 11 pitchers, but until Blanton and Oswalt show they’re both healthy and strong, I don’t see that happening. The only way I see service time being a factor is as a tie-breaker on a close call with about a week or two to go. If on July 12th several outfielders ahead of him are slumping then they may give those players 1 extra week to break their slumps before bringing Brown up on July 19th.

    1. Couldn’t disagree more with your playbook, mid-August? “Manuel” manages to win every game which means the best team in the lineup each night. Let’s not forget that DBrown was tagged for a role on the team entering ST and before him hamate bone injury. Now that he’s healed and raking the ball at LV, why would he not be in line for a call-up?

      Before June 1st . . . .

      1. Brown may be caught in a bit of a numbers game. But that is typical of all rookies. They need to seize the opportunity when one comes up. Howard had to wait for his turn. Utley had to wait for his turn. DBrown was not “tagged for a role on the team entering ST”. He had to earn it, and he was losing the battle pretty badly in the early going before he got hurt. Also, he didn’t do anything last season or in winter ball to prove he is better at this stage in his career than Francisco, so Brown is 0/2 in his opportunities to seize a major league job. Francisco is in a slump, but so far this season he has been getting on base and knocking in runs at a better clip than the $126MM man Werth, with fewer errors too. It is early. Manuel preaches patience. Let’s be patient with Francisco. The Phillies like his right-handed bat in the line-up. Let’s be patient with Brown. There is nothing wrong with Brown getting another 300 plate appearances in AAA. I am a Brown fan. I recently wrote on this blog he could still be rookie of the year. But first he needs an opportunity and for a lot of things to go right. On the other hand, Francisco could put up the better numbers than any other rookie, too.

  17. Ben Francisco deserves nothing in my opinion. he started for CLEVELAND???? what does that mean,cleveland sorry dont buy that, he is not a starter plain and simple. rather have mayberry or a brown, even with his faults , he can help by stealing a base .

  18. Didn’t we enter this season with the intention of using Brown as our every day right fielder? What has happened since that might change our views? Brown (when healthy) has performed as advertised, and Francisco has been terrible.

    Unless there’s an issue of health or money, I just don’t see what justifies keeping him down.

  19. courtesy of Rotoworld:

    Domonic Brown will miss 5-7 days with a first degree sprain of the UCL in his right thumb.
    Brown suffered the injury while playing with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday. It’s too bad, as he has bounced back quite nicely after undergoing hamate bone surgery during spring training. Still, the young outfielder should find his way to the majors before long.

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