With negotiations between agents, All-Star players and MLB teams, the best and worse pre-arbitration deals occur during the offseason.
Curious as to what exactly arbitration is?
In a January 2004 article by Jack McDowell of Yahoo! Sports he simplified the meaning, "Arbitration establishes a system in which salaries from top to bottom are reviewed and adjusted to mirror those of equal players."
In other words, players that sign smaller contracts and become stars get a chance to have a contract reflect what they are worth. With the case of many young, top prospects, MLB teams have a security blanket in terms of a smaller contract. But, if a player does succeed their worth then many teams do renegotiate a contract before that player enters that arbitration period.
AP sports writer Ronald Blum highlights that "Arbitration-eligible baseball players get average 119 percent Raise" in a February 2013 article on Komo News.
Players like Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum gained hefty raises before having to enter the arbitration period. And in the case of Kershaw, who was eligible for arbitration in 2014, is expected to sign a contract extension worth $215 million, via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN on Twitter. Kershaw won't have to deal with arbitration coming up.
In comparison to both sides of Kershaw's deal strictly looking at MLB All-Stars, we'll rank the best and worst deals in recent MLB history.