Red Sox

McAdam: Salary arbitration a bigger puzzle this offseason

To the long list of things left muddled by the coronavirus pandemic, kindly add: the salary arbitration process.

Even under more normal circumstances, figuring out arbitration figures can be dicey. A lot of work goes into the process, with both teams and agents hiring consultants whose job it is to determine what the proper projections should be.

There's plenty at stake -- and no margin for error. After teams and players exchange their figures, if no common ground can be found, an arbitrator must find for one side or the other.

This offseason, however, the process is that much more complicated. Ordinarily, a player and team would research past cases with similar service time and accomplishments, then factor in for the inevitable salary inflation before arriving at a suitable number.

But coming off an unprecedented season, in which just 60 games were played, that exercise becomes harder than ever before. It's always been something of an inexact science; this year, it's akin to a educated guessing game.

Should/can players extrapolate their numbers from the 2020 season and pro-rate the performances over a standard 162 game season. Would, for instance, a 10-homer season over the course of 60 games be the precise equivalent of 27 homers in a full season -- since a 162-game season is 2.7 times longer than what we just experienced? Or would that be assuming too much?

These are the types of decisions currently underway on both sides.