This is surprising. It appears, based on the article, that the number of cases going to arbitration has decreased over the past few years, leading to the possibility that this is a downward trend. I wonder what the root cause of this is. I can speculate on a couple of things, so here goes:
- As we get more sophisticated metrics which include more aspects of a player’s performance (and things like PECOTA, which estimate how a player will perform) and better public records on things like players’ salaries, players and their respective teams are working from a similar framework. The two sides may disagree on where a player fits on the number line, but they’re using the same line.
- Could there be more players who are signing contracts which buy out their arbitration years than before? This is something I’m too lazy to spend much time researching, though, so I’m throwing it out as sheer speculation and admitting that it could be totally wrong, as opposed to item #1, which at least has some grounding.