MLB opening day is a fantastic day for spectators, fans and everybody else not trying to showcase their skills in front of 50,000 fans and a national audience. I believe every player at some point in their professional career be assigned to an active 25-man roster.
From an earnings potential perspective, here is why this can important. Being named to an opening day roster is important because it impacts:
- Credited Major League service time,
- Veteran player status,
- In-season supplemental allowances,
- Retention bonuses, and
- Arbitration eligibility.
Opening Day: Major League Service Time
Whether this is your first opening day or you anticipate retiring, you care about today because it impacts a Player’s Major League service time.
Basically, the more service time you acquire, the more you can earn. Even more importantly, as soon as you earn one (1) day of service time, a player acquires far more rights and benefits through their union contract. Yes, this holds true even when comparing yourself to another player having experience playing in hundreds of minor league games.
Yes, acquiring service time is easier at the end of the season versus the beginning of the season (because rosters are expanded). However, a player cares about service time because your status on the opening day roster is an indication where you stand with your Club and it impacts a Player’s veteran status.
Opening Day and Veteran Player Status
As I was saying above, you want to acquire service time. As soon as a player acquires five (5) or more years of service time, they are considered a Veteran Player.
Being a veteran player means:
- The player cannot be assigned to the minors without consent.
Despite sounding like a broken record, this is important because your status as a player will impact wages along with the points address above.
Opening Day: Supplemental Allowances
Every player contract is different. Generally, supplemental allowances include travel, meals and various living accommodations. Yes, allowances are:
- Provided in advance, and
- Generally rendered on a daily basis.
The reason this is even being discussed is because the rules expressly guarantee players on the opening day roster a right to to an “in-season supplemental allowance”.
Opening Day: Arbitration Eligibility
I agree, discussing arbitration on opening day is a little early. However, the faster you accumulate service time, the faster a player can become arbitration eligible.
In case you are unfamiliar with the rule, a Player with a TOTAL of three (3) or more years of service but less than six (6) can submit paperwork to seek arbitration without first getting consent from their Club.
In case you require a real life example, look no further than the Chicago Cubs and their opening day mistreatment of a young third baseman.
Is there a MLB Opening Day Deadline?
Yes, a Club can make changes to their 25-man roster up to the moment the first pitch is thrown.
For this reason, some players might not know their status until moments leading up to game time.
More MLB Opening Day questions?
Confused? Please contact me for help and I wish you the best during the upcoming season.