Final Offer Arbitration in the New Era of Major League Baseball


This article provides a comprehensive analysis of the economic, athletic, and social impact of final offer salary arbitration in Major League Baseball (“MLB”). The article delves into the motivations, fluctuations, and evolution of the player-owner relationship and free agency. The commentary then focuses on the distinguishing features and intricacies of final offer arbitration. Although salary arbitration in the context of Major League Baseball is a topic oft discussed in the law review setting, the analysis rarely reaches the level exhibited in this article. Moreover, most articles on the subject were written between 1996 and 2000 when the 1994 players’ strike was a fresh for debate and analysis. The game is much different today; accordingly, as is the role of arbitration in MLB.

This article discusses the unique procedural aspects of final arbitration in the framework of MLB, while more importantly highlighting the positive and negative consequences perceptible in today’s game. Rather than a mere historical analysis of dispute resolution in baseball by an author with a negative predisposition on the subject, this article addresses the comprehensive impact of final offer salary arbitration on MLB from the perspective of fans, team owners, and players. The analysis concludes with a glimpse into the future of baseball under the current arbitral system and whether MLB can serve as a model of final offer arbitration for other potential applications.


Contracts | Dispute Resolution and Arbitration | Economics | Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law | Labor and Employment Law | Law | Law and Economics | Law and Society | Litigation

Date of this Version

May 2006