MLB Trade Rumors published their early projections for salary arbitration next season, and among the 13 Rays were three candidates for Super 2 status in 2017:
Player (Years.Days of service) - Salary estimate
Danny Farquhar (2.168) – $1.1MM
Kevin Kiermaier (2.131) – $2.1MM
Chase Whitley (2.125) – $900K
A rookie contract typically will not enter salary arbitration until year four of seven, but at the end of every season MLB identifies players who have logged between two and three seasons on a major league roster as "Super 2"s, eligible to enter salary arbitration a year earlier than their peers.
In other words, based on the number of days spent on the major league roster, a rookie contract will stop paying the minimum after year three seasons and begin escalating, thanks to allowances in the collective bargaining agreement. This has a compounding effect for the player and team.
The previous three seasons have given this privilege to players at 2.130 (2015 off-season), 2.133 (2014), and 2.122 (2013). This year’s projection is anticipated to be in the 2.127 to 2.131 range, which is great news if your name is Kevin Kiermaier.
Kiermaier has emerged has not only the best defender in baseball...
... but possibly the most important player on the team, given his cumulative contributions in center field (solidifying an otherwise average outfield defense), while contributing at the most important spot in the batting order.
To finish the season, Kiermaier contributed a 119 wRC+ from the No. 2 spot in the line up over 222 plate appearances, and looks to expand upon that role next season.
We will have to monitor how the Rays approach his contract moving forward, with a long-term deal with the very deserving platinum glove center fielder more appealing to the team than ever.