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Data: MLB, media reports; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

MLB's arbitration window has ended, closing the book on a strange part of the offseason that over-indexes on lawyers and sometimes leads to bad blood between player and club.

How it works: The process began in early December, hit another milestone in mid-January and finally ended this past Friday.

  • Non-tender deadline: By Dec. 2, teams had to decide whether to tender contract offers to their arbitration-eligible players (those with three to six years of service time, plus "Super Twos"). A record 59 players were non-tendered, immediately becoming free agents.
  • Arbitration deadline: By Jan. 15, players who were unhappy with the state of their negotiations could file for arbitration. Of the hundreds of players tendered contracts, just 13 failed to strike a deal.

Arbitration hearing: Both sides — usually represented by labor lawyers — present a salary number for the upcoming season, based on a combination of performance, intangibles, past compensation and current salaries for comparable players.

  • Process: First, the player's representative gets an hour to present its case. Then, a 15-minute break before the team gets an hour to do the same. Lastly, a 30-minute break to finalize counter-arguments before each side gets 30 minutes to present rebuttals.
  • Decision: After hearing the arguments, a panel of three independent arbitrators (also labor lawyers) has a day or two to deliberate and hand down its decision, which can be only the player's number or the team's, nothing in between.
  • Settling: Prior to the hearing — and in the day(s) between the hearing and ruling — the player and team can choose to settle. Historically, the team wins about 60% of the time.

Of note ... This was the first year since 2018 that a new arbitration record wasn't set. In 2019, Nolan Arenado won his case for $26 million; in 2020, Mookie Betts won his for $27 million.

  • Given how awkward these hearings can be — as the team's job is literally to point out the player's shortcomings — perhaps it's no coincidence that Arenado and Betts are no longer on those teams.
  • That's not to say arbitration is wholly evil. But it's worth considering how the process impacts the player-team relationship in the long run.

Go deeper: The wild, wonky world of salary arbitration (ESPN)

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

Cedric Richmond: We won't wait on GOP for "insufficient" stimulus

Top Biden adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" the White House believes it has bipartisan support for a stimulus bill outside the Beltway.

  • "If our choice is to wait and go bipartisan with an insufficient package, we are not going to do that."

The big picture: The bill will likely undergo an overhaul in the Senate after House Democrats narrowly passed a stimulus bill this weekend, reports Axios' Kadia Goba.