|Contract Lengths for Major League Baseball Players (n = 516)|
In fact, more than half of the contracts (almost 53%) were for just one year. As might be expected, these one-year contracts were at the lowest salary levels. They were also awarded to older players (age 31.2) showing that one-year contracts are used primarily to sign journeymen that fill out the roster and provide depth in case of injury.
|Contract Length||Players||Share||Average Salary||Average Age|
|1 Year||272||52.7%||$3.51 Million||31.2|
|2 Years||126||24.4%||$4.86 Million||31.4|
|3 Years||34||6.6%||$7.80 Million||29.7|
|4 Years||22||4.3%||$9.45 Million||28.9|
|5 Years||20||3.9%||$10.16 Million||28.5|
|6 Years||26||5.0%||$13.01 Million||28.7|
|7+ Years||16||3.2%||$19.18 Million||30.1|
Of the 272 players with 1-year contracts, almost half (42%) had been awarded those contracts during arbitration. The average age of players with contracts awarded in arbitration was 28.6. If we remove those contracts from the pool of 1-year contracts, the average age rises above 33.
|1-Year Contracts||Players||Share||Average Salary||Average Age|
Finally, if we look at the "Overall" rating assigned by Baseball Mogul, we see that the longer contracts at higher salary levels are awarded to the more talented players.
(Here is the data with the arbitration contracts split out from the pool of 1-year players)
|Contract Length||Players||Overall Rating||Average Age||Average Age
It seems that the youngest group of players are those with 5-year contracts, with the average age rising again for 6-year and 7-year contracts. However, if we instead calculate the average age at which the contract was signed, we see a steady downward trend towards signing younger players to longer deals. This would seem to go against the conventional wisdom which holds that players don't sign deals of this magnitude (7+ years) until their late 20s (or early 30s), when they have had enough time to prove their worth on the free agent market.