MLB, MLBPA Agreement on Service Time Ratified – What Does It Mean for the Rangers?

Chris Halicke

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) have agreed to a set of stipulations regarding crucial economic issues before the 2020 regular season begins. The agreement was made on Thursday night and ratified on Friday by a unanimous vote by the owners. 

The two main areas addressed were player salaries and service time. MLB will provide $170 million as an advance over the next two months, with the MLBPA will spread out over four tiers of players. If and when games are played, these advances will count toward the player's pro-rated salaries for the 2020 season.

In regards to service time, if the 2020 season is played, all players who remain active for the entirety of the season will be granted a full year of MLB service time. If the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season is canceled, whatever service time a player accrued in 2019, will count the same for the 2020 year. 

For a detailed breakdown of the agreement between MLB and the MLBPA, SI's legal analyst Michael McCann has the story on SI.com (READ HERE).

So how does the worst-case scenario affect the Texas Rangers? If the 2020 season is canceled, the following players will become free agents in November:

  • Mike Minor
  • Shin-Soo Choo
  • Jesse Chavez
  • Danny Santana
  • Jeff Mathis

Corey Kluber, Robinson Chirinos, and Todd Frazier all have club options for 2021, so their stay in Texas would at least be at the club's discretion for 2021. All other players that accrued a full year of service time would be one year closer to free agency, just as if a season had been played in 2020. 

Mike Minor has expressed a desire to re-sign with Texas. If the season is lost, maybe the two sides would work hard to keep Minor in a Rangers uniform. Danny Santana would be an interesting case. He had a breakout year in 2019, but if no baseball is played in 2020, how much would the Rangers or other teams be willing to offer a player that has just started to break out before they hit free agency.

At this point, this is really all a guessing game. The Rangers aren't thinking that far ahead. The focus right now is on health and safety. Behind that is how a shortened season might look, which a lot of details still have to be worked out on that front. 

Like everyone else in the world, the baseball community is at the mercy of how this pandemic plays out. There's no end date etched in stone when dealing with something of this magnitude. 

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